Tomic scrapes through to second round
Bernard Tomic won a one-set shootout against Fernando Verdasco in a rain-delayed match on Wednesday to advance to the second round at Wimbledon.
Bernard Tomic overcame two more rain delays and Fernando Verdasco’s ferocious firepower to prevail 4-6 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-4 in a tense first-round battle continuing on from Tuesday.
The 19th seed joins fellow Australians Nick Kyrgios, John Millman, Daria Gavrilova and Sam Stosur in the second round, but the bleak weather in London left Wimbledon debutant Matt Barton on tenterhooks for a second night running.
Barton was locked at two sets apiece and 3-all in the decider when his titanic first-round tussle with fellow qualifier Albano Olivetti was abandoned on Wednesday night.
Stosur didn’t even set foot on court, with the 14th seed’s second-round clash with former finalist Sabine Lisicki wiped entirely from the third-day schedule.
The 19th seed will return on Thursday to face Moldovan qualifier Radu Albot for a likely crack at 14th seed Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Despite the inconvenience of having to play three straight days – and backing up for a full match – Tomic said he fancied his chances of pushing into round three.
“Whoever won this match had a big chance of going further into the draw, for sure,” he said.
“I’m pretty happy, probably with my results. (I’ve had) some of the best grasscourt results prior to Wimbledon. It’s pretty solid.”
Tomic resumed against Verdasco with the match on a knife edge at two sets each after anxiously waiting another hour after the scheduled restart before the covers were removed from No.2 Court at the All England Club.
He gained the decisive break in the sixth game, much to the delight of Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, who bellowed a signature “c’mon!” from Tomic’s courtside box in celebration.
Tomic had to hold his nerve and serve from love-40 down to consolidate for 5-3 after fighting off five break points, only for light drizzle to force the players off once more for another four hours.
He finally put Verdasco away after two hours and 45 minutes of on-court action, despite the one-time Australian Open semifinalist firing down 28 aces to Tomic’s 11 and clubbing 69 winners to 51.
Thursday will now feature six Australians with Barton resuming at 6-7(7) 7-6(5) 6-3 6-7(5) 3-3 in his bid to land his maiden Grand Slam main-draw scalp.
Nick Kyrgios meets German wildcard Dustin Brown and John Millman also chases a spot in the last 32 against Benoit Paire, while, like Stosur, Daria Gavrilova has a tough second-round assignment in 19th-seeded Eastbourne winner Dominika Cibulkova.