Tomic Wins Opener In Australian Open Qualifying; Rola Beats Gulbis
Dzumhur gets through in three sets
Former World No. 17 Bernard Tomic got off to winning ways on Monday in the Australian Open qualifying first round. The Australian, who has reached the fourth round of the main draw in 2012, 2015 and 2016, knocked out No. 14 seed Jozef Kovalik 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Tomic will next face compatriot Tristan Schoolkate on Tuesday in Doha, where this year’s competition is being played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Later in the day, Robin Haase drew upon his vast experience to scrape past sixth seed Thiago Seyboth Wild for a place in the second round. Haase came through a 10-point tie-break at 6-6 in the deciding set to complete a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(8) victory over Wild, who captured his maiden ATP Tour title in March 2020 at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open (d. Ruud).
Haase, who hit nine aces and won 81 per cent of his first-service points will next meet wild card Mischa Zverev or Gian Marco Moroni. In 2017, Zverev beat Andy Murray before losing to Roger Federer in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Elsewhere, Slovenian No. 32 seed Blaz Rola defeated former World No. 10 Ernests Gulbis, who has appeared in the main draw on 10 occasions, 7-6(2), 6-3. Former World No. 23 Damir Dzumhur overcame Emilio Gomez 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. The Bosnia and Herzegovina native reached the main draw third round in 2014 and 2018.
Second seed Hugo Dellien swept past Alejandro Tabilo 6-1, 6-0 and now faces Andrew Harris, a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victor over Ruben Bemelmans. Third seed Aslan Karatsev struck 10 aces past Brandon Nakashima 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2 for a place in the second round. Karatsev now prepares to meet Australian Max Purcell, who battled past Hugo Gaston 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3.
Three Americans — fourth seed Denis Kudla, Michael Mmoh and Maxime Cressy — also got off to strong starts in qualifying. Kudla stuck eight aces and was solid on serve to beat Elliot Benchetrit 6-4, 6-3, Mmoh defeated No. 24 seed Danilo Petrovic 6-3, 6-2 and Cressy recovered from 2-4 down in the deciding set to edge past No. 16 seed Go Soeda 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5.