On the clay in Houston, Australia’s world no. 79 has won a hard-fought match against USA’s world no. 85 Denis Kudla. Tomic took the match 7-6(8), 7-5 in one hour and forty-five minutes.
It was an energy-sapping effort for Tomic and he slumped into his courtside chair after sealing the match with an Ace, his 11th for the match. Kudla served four aces, but let himself down with eight double faults.
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Photo: Australia’s Bernard Tomic advances to the second round in Houston (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Both players had a break of serve in the opening set. The first came in the fourth game when Tomic broke for a 3-1 lead. Tomic earning the break point with a great forehand winner to go to Ad. Kudla then hit long on the next point to concede the break.
Tomic played a few loose shots in the next game to fall give Kudla two break-back-points at 15-40. A slice into the net got Kudla back on serve.
Both players then held serve until a tie-break was needed to decide the opening set.
A forehand hit wide by Tomic gave Kudla the first mini-break. A backhand down the line winner got him another to lead 4-1. Tomic won the next point to keep in touch. A Kudla drop shot winner put him up 5-2 and in a strong position.
Tomic served an Ace for 5-3 Kudla, then backed that up with another Ace. Kudla had two serves to close out the set. He gave up the first with a weak shot into the net but then got a set point after Tomic was late on a forehand and sent it well wide. Tomic was serving at 5-6 and Kudla got a bit too aggressive on a backhand and hit long for 6-6.
A shot just over the baseline from Tomic gave Kudla another set point. Again Kudla went for too much and hit long to waste that opportunity. After some big shots from Tomic he surprised Kudla with a drop shot that was a winner and gave the Australian set point.
A big return from Kudla forced an error from Tomic to see the score at 8-8. A forehand winner from Tomic that landed on the line gave him another set point. A double fault from the American handed the set to Tomic.
In the first game of the second set, Tomic had a break point and hit a well-directed passing shot. Kudla was able to volley the shot and it landed close to the line. Kudla won the game despite six deuces.
A deep return on the 30-30 point forced an error from Tomic who hit into the net to give Kudla a break point. He converted after seeing Tomic way over in the backhand corner before Kudla hit the next shot into an open forehand corner to lead 2-0.
Kudla consolidated his break to lead 3-0. The American was then broken in the fifth game to get games back on serve despite Kudla holding game point.
Tomic was able to get another break in the 11th game when Kudla hit his shot into the net on break point. Tomic then was serving for the match. He fell behind 15-30 but then managed to win the next few points to advance to a second-round match against Spain’s world no. 112 Marcel Granollers. The Spaniard defeated last year’s semifinalist Taylor Fritz from the USA 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
After moving to the second round Tomic jumps seven places to no. 72 on the live rankings.