August 20, 2022

Australian wildcard Daria Saville’s hopes of a strong run at Wimbledon were dashed in the first round. Photo: Getty

Australian wildcard Daria Saville has pulled out of the first round at Wimbledon after failing to capitalize on her incredible run of recent form.

Saville succumbed to cramps but fought bravely in a 7-5 3-6 7-5 loss in the first round to the Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova.

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Hopes were high for Saville at Wimbledon, after an incredible resurgence for the Aussie wild card this year.

After falling outside the world top 600 after battling foot and Achilles injuries, Saville has returned to form and the top 100 this year.

World No 2 Ons Jabeur and Elise Mertens are among the top 50 scalps Saville has beaten this year, while the Australian also stunned two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round of French Open.

However, the 28-year-old’s strong run of recent form fell to Tomova, despite a late fightback from Saville.

The Aussie refused to throw in the towel after hitting her right knee in game six of the deciding set and losing 5-2.

Saville managed to come back to 5-5, before Tomova regained her composure to force Saville to serve to stay in the game.

As she did in the first set, Saville lost serve again to give Tomova the victory.

A dejected Saville later revealed she was suffering from stress-related cramps, which began at the end of the first set.

Her loss capped a brutal day for the Australian women, with qualifiers Maddison Inglis, Zoe Hives and Astra Sharma and Jaimee Fourlis all losing their first round matches.

Australian women endure tough day at Wimbledon

Hives’ Wimbledon-inspired campaign ended earlier Tuesday with a gallant loss to Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

On the comeback trail after a long battle with debilitating postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, Hives worked his way into the main draw with three qualifying wins in Roehampton.

But Sakkari proved a bridge too far, knocking out the 26-year-old 6-1 6-4 in 78 minutes.

True to character, Hives also fought hard, staging a 5-2 mini comeback in the second set to extend Monday’s match.

But she finally succumbed to the world No. 5 on Court 3.

Ranked No. 571 in the world after being unable to play for more than two years while battling chronic fatigue, Hives’ consolation is a career payday of Stg50,000 (A$88,000).

Here, Australia's Zoe Hives returns her serve in her first-round loss to Greece's Maria Sakkari at Wimbledon.

Australian Zoe Hives returns to serve after her first-round loss to Greece’s Maria Sakkari at Wimbledon. Photo: Getty

Sharma’s appearance in the main draw was also short-lived, with Western Australia losing their rain-delayed first round match to Tatjana Maria 4-6 6-3 6-4.

The departures of Saville, Hives and Sharma followed Inglis’ exit on Monday with a 5-7 6-3 6-4 loss to Dalma Galfi.

Ajla Tomljanovic saved Australia from a women’s loss with an impressive first-round victory, upsetting 18th seed Jil Teichmann 6-2 6-3.

Teichmann had just qualified for the round of 16 at Roland Garros, but Tomljanovic got past the Swiss southpaw in 77 minutes to book a meeting on Thursday with American qualifier Catherine Harrison.

“I knew she had an amazing year so far and that kind of confidence can’t be bought,” Tomljanovic said.

“It’s just the whole year, you can tell. It always comes out in tough times.

“So I knew if I wanted to win today I really had to improve my game and play the lawn tennis that I know I can.”

with the AAP

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