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Tomljanovic vs Zidansek WTA Hua Hin Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Tomljanovic battles Zidansek for Hua Hin final spot

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 1 Feb 2019
  • Ajla Tomljanovic vs Tamara Zidansek is live from Hua Hin on Saturday, 2 February from 5:00pm local time/ 10:00am GMT
  • Tomljanovic and Zidansek have split their two previous career meetings
Ajla Tomljanovic. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic attempts to reach her fourth WTA final when she takes on Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek- who is targeting her first tour-level final- in Hua Hin on Saturday.

Tomljanovic has made a decent start to the season, reaching at least the quarter finals in two of her first four tournaments. The 25-year-old opened her year with a quarter final in Brisbane, beating Katerina Siniakova and Johanna Konta before falling to eventual champion, Karolina Pliskova in the last eight, but she followed that up with consecutive opening round exits in Sydney and the Australian Open, losing to Camila Giorgi and Konta respectively in difficult first-round draws.

She has got back to winning ways in Hua Hin, beating Stefanie Voegele and Kateryna Kozlova to make the quarters, before taking down Saisai Zheng 6-1 6-3 on Friday to progress into the last four. 

That scoreline suggests an easy outing for the Australian, but it wasn't exactly that straightforward, as she had to save six of eight break points against world No. 42, Zheng. Tomljanovic was more ruthless with her break point opportunities, converting half of the 12 chances she carved out. The world No. 49 won nine of the first ten games, and looked to be running away with the match when she led by a double break in the second set, but Zheng regained interest in the match when she battled back from 3-0 to 3-3, only for Tomljanovic to step it up again, winning three games in a row to take the match.

She now stands one win away from her fourth final, and her third since the start of 2018. Tomljanovic reached her first final in 2015, the same year she first broke into the top 50, but her career was stalled by a serious shoulder injury in 2016, which kept her out of action for most of the year. She has been rebuilding her ranking since her return to the sport in 2017, and enjoyed a fine 2018, when she reached finals in Rabat and Seoul and returned to the top 50.

Can she continue another fine week by taking down Zidansek on Saturday?

21-year-old Zidansek is into her second WTA semi-final, adding to her efforts at the Moscow River Cup last season, where she beat Antonia Lottner, Daria Kasatkina and Laura Siegemund before retiring against eventual champion, Anastasia Potapova in the last four.

Tamara Zidansek. (Photo by GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
Zidansek arrived Hua Hin with only one tour-level win this season- against Daria Gavrilova at the Australian Open (she was beaten by Naomi Osaka in the second round), but she has put together three straight wins this week to stand one win away from her maiden WTA Final. The Slovenian led Timea Babos 6-0 3-1 in the opening round before the Hungarian retired hurt; she then squeezed past Jennifer Brady in the second round, moving through 11-9 in the final set tie break after saving two match points. She had actually led 5-0 in the final set, and had a 40-0 lead while serving for the match at 5-1, but she completely lost her way as Brady stormed back to drag the set into a tie break. The American looked set to complete the miracle when she led 6-4 in the breaker, but Zidansek dug deep to stay alive, before going on to take a crazy match on her seventh match point.

She was again taken to three sets in her quarter final against Swiss, Viktorija Golubic, but this one was less dramatic, as she recovered from the loss of the opening set to win 4-6 6-1 6-2.

Zidansek is currently ranked 74th in the world, but she reached a career-high mark of 69th last October. Apart from her semi-final in Moscow, she also won her first WTA 125K title in Bol, Croatia, and won four ITF titles. Can the 21-year-old take the next big step forward and reach her first tour-level final on Saturday?

Zidansek defeated Tomljanovic 6-3 6-1 on her way to the Bol title last year, but the Australian responded with a three-set win in Seoul in their only previous tour-level meeting, and their only previous encounter on a hard court.

Tomljanovic has generally played at a higher level this year, and has been more convincing than Zidansek this week, which makes the hard-hitting Australian the favourite heading into Saturday's tie.

Ajla Tomljanovic vs Tamara Zidansek is live from Hua Hin on Saturday, 2 February from 5:00pm local time/ 10:00am GMT

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Tomljanovic vs Zidansek WTA Hua Hin Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Tomljanovic battles Zidansek for Hua Hin final spot

Ajla Tomljanovic seeks her fourth tour-level final when she takes on Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek in the Hua Hin semi-finals on Saturday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online

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