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Melbourne Highlights - Day 5

by Alexandra Willis
Friday 20 January 2012

On Friday night at Rod Laver Arena, Bernard Tomic reached the superstardom stratosphere. The 19-year-old, already a hero amongst Australians after a five-set and then four-set win to reach the third round, became the first Australian male to reach the fourth round at Melbourne Park since Lleyton Hewitt in 2010.

In a cerebral meeting under the Friday night lights in Melbourne, Tomic recovered from having dropped the first set in exemplary fashion, sneaking through the next two on back-to-back tie-breaks.

With Dolgopolov, the 13th seed, receiving treatment for pain in his lower back, it looked as though Tomic could be given an easy ride into the fourth round.

But the Ukrainian with the quickest service action in the game fought back, breezing through the fourth set to force a fifth.

Two years ago, Tomic's body failed him against Marin Cilic, a gangly 17-year-old not having the necessary mettle to survive a five-setter. But look at him now.

Taking the early break in the fifth, there wasn't even a glimmer of a choke from the Aussie youngster, serving his way to the fourth round on his second match point.

Brilliant Bernie, the papers will proclaim. And they'll be right to. Imagine the fuss if he were to unseat his idol, Roger Federer, in the round of 16.

It could happen.


Speaking of Federer, the 16-time Grand Slam champion moved to within one of 1000 matches played on the ATP World Tour and Grand Slam circuit with his ruthless three-set win over Ivo Karlovic. If he were to make it past Tomic, his 1000th match would also be his 31st consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final.

Rafael Nadal meanwhile also breezed through in three sets, as did Juan Martin del Potro, but there was disappointment for John Isner, the last of the American men, as he lost to Feliciano Lopez in five.

On the women's side of the schedule, world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Kim Clijsters, 2011 finalist Li Na, and world No.3 Victoria Azarenka breezed through their respective matches to reach the fourth round.


Special mention again to Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins, through to the round of 16 in the men's doubles after destroying Alex Bogomolov Jr and Igor Kunitsyn in straight sets.

The British duo, aiming to reach their third consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, will have to get past the Bryan brothers to do so.


For all the reports and results from Melbourne Park, visit the Official Australian Open website

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