Bernard Tomic through to Open second round

Shayne Hope
·2-min read

Bernard Tomic's first win at a grand slam tournament in two-and-a-half years wasn't enough to genuinely excite the Australian Open qualifier.

But the volatile 28-year-old was at least pleased to play some "unbelievable" tennis at times during a victory he achieved when Japan's Yuichi Sugita retired hurt on Monday night.

Urged on by his courtside "coach" - reality TV love interest Vanessa Sierra - and father John, Tomic fought back after a nervous start in the first-round affair and appeared headed for victory when Sugita took a medical time-out during the third set.

Sugita, nursing an abdominal complaint, carried on for two more games but couldn't complete the match, which Tomic led 3-6 6-1 4-1 when it was called off.

"I played very, very badly in the first set," Tomic said.

"I was kind of a little bit nervous. It was windy, it was cold. It was pretty bad.

"But the second and third was some of the best tennis I've played in a while."

The result sets up a round-two showdown with world No.12 Denis Shapovalov, who beat rising star Jannik Sinner 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 in a five-set thriller.

Tomic cited a nagging knee injury as the reason for his nerves, having dealt with the issue on and off for the past few weeks.

"I didn't feel it today, so it was good," Tomic said.

"I'm hoping (it will hold up throughout the tournament)."

Tomic, ranked 233rd, didn't get to complete a match point against Sugita but the win was still his first at a grand slam tournament since a straight-sets triumph over Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon in July 2018.

It was also his first at the Australian Open since defeating Victor Estrella Burgos in January 2017.

"It's good and it's a great feeling," Tomic said.

"Am I a bit excited? Probably not, but it's good to be back, I guess, at this level.

"I played some solid tennis in (qualifying) and I'm just happy to be here."

Historically, Tomic has enjoyed his best grand slam results at the Australian Open, where he reached the third or fourth round six times from 2011 to 2017.