Tomljanovic injury scare as she retires in Parma return

Ajla Tomljanovic's comeback tournament after a four-month absence has been cut short when she had to withdraw from just her second match back with a neck problem.

The Australian star's latest setback came at the Parma Ladies Open in Italy, when she pulled out after just three games of Wednesday's (Thursday AEST) second round clash with Mexican Renata Zarazua when 3-0 down after just 18 minutes of play.

Officials at the WTA 125 event, Tomljanovic's first since the end of January, reported that the official reason for her withdrawal was a neck injury.

But a spokesperson for Tomljanovic told AAP later: "It was just precautionary. Nothing serious going on but as you can imagine coming back to high level competitive tennis takes a bit of adjustment from the body again."

The problem reared up just a day after the 31-year-old was announced as a wildcard for the French Open that begins in 11 days time at Roland Garros, and clearly there was no chance of the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist taking any risks before then in her first tournament in four months.

The former Australian No.1, who's dropped to 219 in the world rankings, has only played one grand slam in nearly two years after a long run of injury and illness but had reported after her first-round, come-from-behind win over Italian Nuria Brancaccio to feeling happy to be back in action.

Ajla Tomljanovic and Jelena Ostapenko.
Ajla Tomljanovic and Jelena Ostapenko shake hands after their Australian Open clash in January.

"I don't want to get too greedy. I think for me, it's just really important to just play," she said in an interview with the Parma sponsors, Iren.

"If I get great results, it's a bonus right now because I've really just missed being and doing what I have been doing for all these years.

"The last year and a half have been really tough for me just to not play, so I want to stay really humble and just ask for as many matches as possible."

It's all looking a bit gloomy for the Australian women's challenge in Paris, with only Tomljanovic and national No.1 Daria Saville so far guaranteed to be in the main draw.

Saville, the world No.84 and the only Australian in the top 100, also got knocked out in Parma on Wednesday, beaten by young Russian Kamilla Rakhimova 6-4 7-5, a particular frustration for the Melbourne player who had served for the second set at 5-4 only to capitulate in just under two hours.

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