Croatian-Born Players Return for Bol Open

Croatian-Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and Croatian-America Bernarda Pera are set to return to Croatia for the 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open. Tomljanovic, originally from Zagreb, and Pera, originally from Zadar, are both ranked in the world’s top 100. They are two of the 14 top 100 players expected to play in Bol this year.

This will be the second Bol Open for world no. 68 Tomljanovic, who currently lives in Brisbane. The 25-year-old first played the Bol Open in 2017 when she surprisingly lost in the first round (l. Sakkari 4-6, 6-4, 1-6). She even brought along her boyfriend, ATP star Nick Kyrgios.

Tomljanovic arrives to Bol after a tough first round match at Roland Garros where she drew world no. four Elina Svitolina. It looked like an upset might be looming as she lead Svitolina 5-1 in the first set. Tomljanovic served for the set twice, but could not close it out. Her level dropped as Svitolina stormed back to take the match 7-5, 6-3.

After the match Tomljanovic shared her frustration with the media, saying “It’s tough losing to a top seed when you’re in position to potentially win the set and then you never know what can happen…So it’s kind of unfortunate. It’s kind of bittersweet because I’m glad that I provided a decent level at times, but losing is never fun.”

Tomljanovic’s best result at a Grand Slam came at the 2014 French Open where she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska, world no. 3 at the time, to reach the fourth round. It was her first and only win over a top 10 player.

After reaching a career high ranking of world no. 47 in February 2015, Tomljanovic had shoulder surgery a year later. Forced to miss the rest of the 2016 season, she ended the year world no. 930. Since her return to the tour in February 2017 she spent the next year and a half rebuilding her ranking and successfully reentered the world’s top 100 in January this year.

Pera, who moved to the U.S. at age 16, will make her first appearance in Bol this year pending her results at Roland Garros. The 23-year-old world no. 73 heads into the second round after a convincing opening round victory (d. Vesnina 6-3, 6-2). She will play Daria Gavrilova, the no. 24 seed from Australia, on Thursday, May 31.

Pera’s best result at a Grand Slam came earlier this year at the Australian Open where she made it into the main draw at the last minute as a lucky loser. It was her first main draw appearance at a Grand Slam. She defeated world no. 10 Johanna Konta in straight sets to reach the third round. During her week in Melbourne, Pera managed to pull off her first win over a top 10 player while doubling her total career prize money.

It has been a remarkable year for Pera. After deep runs on the clay in Charleston and Madrid, she broke into the top 100 for the first time in April. Her current ranking, a career high, will surely continue to improve after her impressive showing in Paris.

To catch Tomljanovic and Pera in action at the 2018 WTA Croatia Bol Open, purchase tickets via ticketshop.hr. The tournament takes place from Tuesday, June 5 through Sunday, June 6 at the BlueSun Tennis Center in Bol.