Thompson triumphs as Bourchier retires
Defending Australian Open Play-off champion Jordan Thompson advanced after opponent Harry Bourchier retired with injury, while top seed Luke Saville won in four.
Fifth seed Jordan Thompson defeated Harry Bourchier 7-6(2) 6-4 5-2 ret. in his first match of the Australian Open 2015 Play-off after Bourchier withdrew following an injury.
Just after winning the Australian 18/u Championships on Saturday, the unseeded Bourchier first called the trainer 2-1 down in the third and fought through the injury until the end of the set’s seventh game when he decided he could no longer compete.
The 18-year-old played a similar brand of tennis that won him Saturday’s national title throughout the first two sets, consistently matching and often overcoming Thompson from the baseline.
However, after conceding the final eight points of the second set, Bourchier appeared to be struggling with his right hip early in the third.
From the trainer’s first appearance onward, Bourchier continued to be burdened by the injury and Thompson chose to lengthen the points as a result.
Thompson, who won the Australian Open Play-off 12 months earlier, held to love in the fourth game, but Bourchier showed his fighting spirit, holding serve a game later.
However, Thompson soon gained complete control of the match, holding easily at 4-2 and breaking to win what would be the final game of the match.
Thompson was disappointed by how it ended and commended Bourchier on his strong start to the match.
“Even though, I think, it was only one game away that’s never the way you want to finish a match, he’d been playing great and had a great last week and earned his spot in the draw,” he said.
The New South Welshman was short of match practice on the Melbourne courts and was thus motivated by his performance on the Plexicushion.
“Yes (I am happy), first match I’ve played on these courts since the Australian Open, so nearly 12 months,” he said.
Saville progresses in four
Top seed Luke Saville had a more difficult time in his opening round match, losing the second set, before settling to win, 7-6(4) 6-7(3) 6-2 6-4.
His opponent, Chris O’Connell, was the more consistent of the two early in the encounter as the server won each of the first ten games.
Saville broke to love at 5-5 and was well positioned to take the first set, before O’Connell broke straight back after a number of unforced errors from the Australian No.10.
The tiebreak was evenly matched early on before Saville asserted his authority to win the final three points.
Despite only converting one of his five break point opportunities in the second set, O’Connell levelled the match at one set all.
An efficient serving display from Saville in the third was unmatched by O’Connell and while the 20-year-old O’Connell battled hard serve at 4-4 in the fourth, an eventual break for Saville followed by a service hold saw the top seed clinch the match in just over three hours.
Saville was ecstatic with the win, emphasising the difficulty of the matchup.
“He’s a good player. Probably one of the tougher draws I could have got. I’m happy to be through,” he said.
“I was a little bit passive today in my attitude but the good thing in tennis is you’ve got another chance if you keep winning.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the top players on Monday at Melbourne Park.
Eighteen-year-old wildcard Blake Mott upset No.7 seed Maverick Banes in four sets, while 17-year-old Marc Polmans – a finalist in the 18/u event – dealt a similar blow to third seed Alex Bolt, also scoring a four-set upset win.
Also advancing were second seed John-Patrick Smith and No.8 seed Gavin Van Peperzeel, both straight-sets winners in their opening round matches.