Bernard Tomic overcame a stern test as he took down Denis Istomin 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Australian Open.
Tomic’s Tough Start
Tomic will have been expecting a fairly routine opening round match having beaten the world number 59 on three out of their four previous encounters. However he was pushed all the way in a tight opening set, saving three break points to force it to a tiebreak.
Despite the Australian’s comeback it was the man from Uzbekistan who won the opening four points in the breaker, before sealing the set by seven points to four courtesy of one of his 43 errors in the match.
The Australian Number One Fights Back
This was the first time the two had played since 2014 in Washington, a match which Istomin won in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(6). However, there was no need to panic for the 16th seed, twice breaking his opponent’s serve in set number two to level the match.
The third set seemed somewhat pivotal as both players looked to take the lead in this tight match. It was the world number 59 who got off to a bad start, dropping serve in the opening game of the set and then having to save a further break point in the eighth game after a double fault left him in serious trouble.
Bernard’s Break Point Bravery
A hold to love for Istomin forced Tomic to serve for a two sets to one lead. This proved to be a tricky task as a combination of errors and a winner from his opponent saw the Australian fall 0-40 down. A series of thumping winners and a big serve saved the break points in style, allowing him to go on and tussle his way through the game and take the set.
A Serious Medical Emergency
At the beginning of the fourth set there was a serious medical emergency involving one of the members of the crowd who appeared to be suffering from a seizure. A 20 minute delay followed, with both players looking on helplessly as she began to receive treatment after a member of the crowd had an EpiPen on hand to pass through the crowd to begin treating her. Thankfully, the woman is ok, much to everyone’s relief in the Hisense Arena.
Denis Digs Deep
The fourth set did not seem to catch fire until we reached the business end, with both players holding serve with relative ease. In the eighth game, Istomin hit two consecutive winners down the line, one off the forehand wing and another off of the backhand side to bring up two break points. There is nothing like two crucial points to help focus the mind, and that is what Tomic applied to the situation. A couple of timely first serves leading to one-two punch combinations helped him close out the game.
Tomic Explodes Into Life
It looked set to be another routine service hold for Istomin at 40-15, but the Australian came out on top of two extended rallies, finishing the points off with winners. A scintillating return of serve down the line brought up a break point chance. An opportunity which he duly took courtesy of Istomin’s drive volley landing long.
A routine service hold to love closed out the four sets win in style, 6-7(4) , 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, in a match lasting exactly three hours.
Tomic will now go on to face the unseeded Italian Simone Bolelli in the second round, which will be the first time the two have faced each other.