Bernie backs serve to bring AO success
Bernard Tomic is backing his lethal serve to bring down whoever stands in his way at the Australian Open.
The red-hot Tomic crunched 26 aces and didn’t drop serve once in racking up his 10th straight win of the summer on Thursday to book a likely third-round blockbuster with Roger Federer.
“That’s probably the best I’ve ever served,” Tomic said after keeping his cool in heatwave conditions to see off inspired German qualifier Daniel Brands 6-7(4) 7-5 7-6(3) 7-6(8) in two hours and 55 minutes.
“I didn’t get broken today at all, not even in the first round. I think the last break of serve was in the quarters against (Jarkko) Nieminen in Sydney. I think I just got broken once there. Tells you I’m serving really well.
“I’m going to use all this confidence in the next round. Potentially who waits there, we’ll see.”
The tennis world is waiting to see Tomic face Federer.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion will carry an imposing 17-2 win-loss record into his second-round clash later on Thursday against Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko and, having won his last 76 service games, Tomic has the belief he can reverse his fourth-round defeat last year to the mighty Swiss.
“Ten out of 10 now with matches (this summer). I feel so confident,” Tomic said.
“This is the perfect time to play him. I’ve got a good attitude to win. I’ve beaten a lot of good players over the last past two weeks, especially Novak (Djokovic in Perth).
“I think I can do it if he wins his match. I’m ready.”
Tomic’s latest win was his 13th straight in Australia since his last defeat here – to Federer in Melbourne last year.
It took eight match points to achieve and at times Tomic also found it almost impossible to make inroads on Brands’ serve.
But the Queenslander achieved the only break of the match and won both tiebreakers to advance to the last 32 of his home slam for the third year in a row.
Brands took the opening set in a tiebreaker without offering up a solitary break point and the two continued to hold serve with ease right up until the 11th game of the second set when the Australian turned the match with a flash of brilliance.
Tomic showed great foot speed and balance to whip a spectacular running forehand pass down the line to finally gain a break for 6-5 and then held his nerve to serve out the set from love-30 down.
Suddenly the match was back on level terms after an hour and 24 minutes.
“It’s very difficult when you get a set down in these conditions,” Tomic said.
“The last thing you want is to get two sets down. I was able to turn it around in the second set.”
Incredibly, Brands didn’t drop a single point on serve in the third set until double-faulting on the opening point of the pivotal tiebreaker.
The mini break was all Tomic needed as he served out the set to nudge ahead for the first time.
The 120th-ranked Brands came up with booming deliveries to his first seven match points and Tomic had to fend off a set point of his own at 7-8 down in the tiebreaker.
But eight match points were enough as Tomic finally advanced when Brands fired a forehand long.