Jelena Ostapenko and Ajla Tomljanovic have played each other three previous times, and they are about to meet again in the second round of the Australian Open. Given their on-court history, any time they meet in a tennis tournament is a must-see event, especially at a Grand Slam.
Ostapenko has a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head matchup. The most notorious of those was the Tomljanovic win at Wimbledon 2021. It was a three set match, and Ostapenko asked for a trainer immediately when she was down 0-4 in the deciding third set. Tomljanovic accused her of faking.
After Tomljanovic won the match, there was a verbal exchange at the net with the word "disrespect" spewed between the two players.
What can we expect from Jelena Ostapenko and Ajla Tomljanovic's match at the Australian Open?
The two have never met on hard courts. The previous meetings were on grass and clay. Tomljanovic will have the hometown crowd supporting her if she and Ostapenko have differences during the match.
Ostapenko is the higher seed so she will be the second player introduced for the match. How the fans respond to her will be interesting. Though that exchange was nearly three years ago, Australian tennis fans will remember it. We know they will be cheering loudly when Tomljanovic is introduced and walking on the court.
If Ostapenko has an altercation with an umpire during the match, which is always a possibility, the fans may get involved with "boos" or other audible reactions. It is worth noting that the two played one match after the Wimbledon incident without issues, but it was not in front of the Aussie crowd.
Ostapenko is the favorite to win this match; however, anything is possible. Fueled by adrenaline and the home crowd amid a comeback after injuries suffered in 2023, Tomljanovic has a great chance to upset Ostapenko, in more ways than one.