16
Jan
12

Bernard Tomic came back from two sets down to beat 22nd seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain in the first round of the Australian Open.

Australia's Bernard Tomic

Tomic prevailed 4-6 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2 7-5 after four hours and 11 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena. Juan Martin del Potro powered back from a set down to beat Adrian Mannarino, while world number two Rafael Nadal beat Alex Kuznetsov 6-4 6-1 6-1. Tomas Berdych, Mardy Fish and Nicolas Almagro also triumphed.

Ten-time grand slam champion Nadal wrapped up victory in just one hour and 46 minutes, with six breaks of his opponent’s service. He also conceded only two break-point opportunities against the 167th-ranked American throughout the three sets. The Spanish second seed, who played with his right knee bandaged, will face German Tommy Haas in the second round.

Tomic, who won the AAMI Kooyong Classic build-up event, described his match against the Spaniard as “torture” after what was only his third five-set match. But the 19-year-old dug deep in the sweltering heat to take the match to a decider, finally breaking the weary Spaniard in the 11th game of the final set to serve for the match. Tomic will play Sam Querrey in the second round after the American beat wild card Kenny de Schepper in straight sets. Meanwhile, Del Potro powered back from a set down to beat Adrian Mannarino to maintain his record of never having lost an opening-round match in seven visits to Melbourne. The 2009 US Open champion, seeded 11th, made a poor start but later showed signs of top form to win 2-6 6-1 7-5 6-4 and seal a meeting with Blaz Kavcic.

Elsewhere, 18th seed Feliciano Lopez overcame Leonardo Mayer and next plays Flavio Cipolla of Italy, a five-set winner against former world number three Nikolay Davydenko. Another upset saw Ivo Karlovic hit 24 aces en route to a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 6-3 victory over 31st seed Jurgen Melzer.

 

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