19-year-old Australian tennis star Bernard Tomic started his Australian Open campaign with an incredible come from behind victory to advance past the tournament’s first round.
Tomic needed four hours and 11 minutes, his longest-ever match, to beat Fernando Verdasco (world No. 24). Verdasco took the opening two sets 6-4 7-6, but Tomic rallied to win the final three 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.
In his post-match courtside interview Tomic credited the Australian fans for their support throughout his victory.
“Today wasn’t fun, it was torture. I really don’t know how I won… I think it was you guys,” Tomic said, acknowledging the Melbourne crowd.
Tomic advances to play American Sam Querrey on Wednesday although the match up may prove to be a little easier for the young Australian as Querrey is just 95th on the world rankings.
In other first round clashes, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal eased past Alex Kuznetsov 6-4 6-1 6-1 and hit 42 winners to just 14 unforced errors in the process.
Nadal was unsure whether he’d be able to play prior to the match after his knee flared up whilst sitting in his hotel room. He was taken to hospital where he received an MRI scan and some treatment and was able to regain full movement in his knee.
Searching for his 11th Grand Slam title, Nadal will face former World No. 2 Tommy Haas later in the week. Nadal last won the Australian Open when he defeated Roger Federer in 2009.
Haas, from Germany, won in four sets against another American, Denis Kudla, but the former star has seen his world rankings plummet after missing the majority of 2011 schedule due to a hip injury and is currently unranked.
Roger Federer (World No. 3) also had a relatively easy night, defeating Alexander Kudryavtsev 7-5 6-2 6-2.
Photo Credit: AP