Bernard Tomic is through to the final round of qualifying Australian Open Bernard Tomic

Bernie battles on, seeds fall


Australian Bernard Tomic looked all set to continue carving through qualifying on Saturday at Melbourne Park before having to dig deep to book his spot in the third round.

Following his 6-1 6-3 demolition of Frenchman Vincent Millot on Wednesday, the No.29 seed was on his way to making short work of American Tommy Paul, up 6-0 5-2 and with the match very much on his own racquet. 

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Until then, Tomic looked to be enjoying the confines of Margaret Court Arena, after the match was rescheduled inside due to heavy rain. However, Paul was far from done, mounting a challenge which saw him take the second set in a tiebreaker and push the Australian all the way.

To his credit, Tomic managed to step up his game when it mattered most, finally breaking the world No.151 at 5-5 in the third set, but again, it wasn’t enough, as he failed to close out the match for the second time. 

With the match into a deciding tiebreaker, Tomic maintained his composure and eventually saw off the challenge, winning 6-0 6-7(5) 7-6(4).

Unforced errors
Bernard Tomic
Tommy Paul

Tomic, 25, will now face Italian Lorenzo Sonego, the world No.218, for a place in the main draw.

With all other qualifying matches played indoors at Melbourne Park on Saturday – a move unprecedented at a Grand Slam event since Wimbledon back in 1997 – top seed Taylor Fritz found the midway change of conditions not to his liking, eliminated from the tournament by Frenchman Mathias Bourgue 7-6(3) 0-6 6-4.

Meanwhile, Tomic’s countryman, James Duckworth, completed his match outdoors before the downpour but went down to German Matthias Bachinger in straight sets.

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Other men’s winners on the day included youngsters Casper Ruud of Norway (No.25) and Duckhee Lee of Korea, who accounted for Kazakh Dmitry Popko and Frank Dancevic respectively. Lee survived an epic second set tiebreaker against his Canadian opponent to take the match 4-6 7-6(8) 6-3.

Canadian fifth seed Vasek Pospisil battled past Italian Stefano Napolitano 6-1 6-7(5) 7-5 to set up a final-round clash with Indian Ramkumar Ramanathan after the 28th seed beat Frenchman Gleb Sakharov 6-4 7-6(10).

Ernesto Escobedo was one bright spot for the American men, the No.11 seed cruising to the final round of qualifying with a 6-3 6-2 win over Italian Alessandro Giannessi, while Serbian 24th seed Norbert Gombos defeated Italian Salvatore Caruso 3-6 6-3 6-3.

American trio Irina Falconi (No.15), Danielle Collins and Kayla Day were all victorious in women’s qualifying, Falconi taking out Russian Polina Monova in straight sets to set up a meeting with Australian wildcard Priscilla Hon for a main draw berth. Collins ousted sixth seed Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, while Day sent 21st seed Xinyun Han packing.

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Bernarda Pera added her name to the American winners with the 14th seed coming from a set down to beat Romanian Irina Bara 4-6 6-2 6-3.

Canadian 10th seed Francoise Abanda crashed out 4-6 6-2 6-4 to Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, but there were no such troubles for Swiss fourth seed Viktorija Golubic and her compatriot Stefanie Voegele.

Other winners on Saturday included Dutchwoman Lesley Kerkhove, Poland's Magdalena Frech, Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru and Russian pair Anna Blinkova and Anna Kalinskaya.