05TH Jan 2009

Tough draw on debut

Bernard practises in Melbourne. PHOTO: ELLA LING

Bernard practises in Melbourne. PHOTO: ELLA LING

AAP

Australian wildcard Bernard Tomic faces a tough battle to start the summer in style after receiving an unlucky draw at the Brisbane International.

Tomic, last year’s Australian Open boys’ champion, will make his main-draw debut on the senior tour with an extremely challenging first-round encounter against Fernando Verdasco, the world No.16 who recently led Spain to the Davis Cup title.

But while the 16-year-old Gold Coaster’s hopes of gaining some important ATP ranking points look bleak, tournament organisers will be pleased the match against the fifth seed guarantees he’ll play at a packed-out Pat Rafter Arena.

While Tomic is much hyped in Australia as our next great men’s hope, it will be a baptism of fire against Verdasco, the boyfriend of women’s drawcard Ana Ivanovic who holds no fears for the exciting teenager.

“I’ve never heard about him,” Verdasco said after Saturday’s draw.

The winner will set up a likely quarter-final with American Mardy Fish on the same side of the draw where top seed Novak Djokovic is to play Czech Tomas Berdych in the same round.

For live scores, visit www.brisbaneinternational.com.au

Latest Result

Italian Open, R64
Benoit Paire DEFEATED Bernard Tomic 2-1 (RET) see previous results