Bernard wins first round
Boy wonder Bernard Tomic needed less than two hours to light what had been shaping as a gloomy opening day for the locals at the Australian Open on Monday.
Returning to Margaret Court Arena, the scene of his history-making first-round triumph last year over Italian Potito Starace, the 17-year-old Tomic bolted out of the blocks and led French qualifier Guillaume Rufin 6-3 1-2 before the umpteenth rain delay.
But far from being distracted at being forced to spend another hour on the sidelines waiting for the skies to clear, Tomic returned to action looking better than ever.
The two-time grand slam junior champion immediately broke back to level the second set at 2-2 before racing away to win 6-3 6-4 6-4 against the outclassed Rufin.
It provided ample justification of Tennis Australia’s decision to award their brightest young talent with a wildcard for the second successive year.
Had he lost, the world No.289 would have dropped almost 100 places down the rankings.
But having successfully defended the ranking points he earned for last year’s win over Starace, Tomic can now look forward with confidence to a second-round encounter against either 14th-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic or French veteran Fabrice Santoro, playing in a record 70th grand slam event.