TOMIC’S TROU­BLES IN­CREASE

Back in­jury forces Aus­tralian to with­draw from Mi­ami Open

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MI­AMI

BERNARD Tomic’s woes con­tin­ued on Thurs­day as he pulled out of the Mi­ami Open due to a back in­jury, the lat­est set­back in a dis­ap­point­ing year for the Aus­tralian.

Ranked 17th in the world as re­cently as Novem­ber, Tomic has tum­bled down the rank­ings to 44th.

Since a third-round Aus­tralian Open exit, the 24-year-old has lost four first-round matches to lowly ranked op­po­nents.

The most re­cent set­back came at In­dian Wells, where he was beaten by 112th-ranked Bjorn Fratan­gelo of the United States.

At Aca­pulco in Fe­bru­ary, Tomic re­tired from his open­ing match cit­ing “un­bear­able heat” and the fact that he with­drew from four ATP matches last year has led to some ques­tion­ing of his attitude.

Tomic was due to face Kazakh qual­i­fier Mikhail Kukushkin at Cran­don Park on Thurs­day but pulled out shortly be­fore the con­test was due to be­gin.

Lucky loser Mikhail Youzhny of Rus­sia took Tomic’s place in the first-round con­test, but was ousted 6-4, 6-1.

US teen Frances Ti­afoe downed Rus­sia’s Kon­stantin Kravchuk 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 to book a sec­ond-round match against 18time Grand Slam cham­pion Roger Fed­erer.

It will be the 19-year-old Amer­i­can’s first match against a top10 foe.

“The guy has about a mil­lion Grand Slams and done ev­ery­thing. I can’t tell you how ex­cited I am to play,” Ti­afoe said. “See­ing the draw was partly prob­a­bly why up a set and 4-1, I started rush­ing and think­ing, ‘Oh my God, I’m go­ing to play Roger.’ “He’s my idol, every­one’s idol.” World No 41 Mar­cel Gra­nollers of Spain fell 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-3 to promis­ing 62nd-ranked Croa­t­ian Borna Coric in a test­ing two hours, 51 min­utes con­test.

Coric tired towards the end and of­fered some open­ings to Gra­nollers while miss­ing three match points but was able to re­cover well to hold on and set up a meet­ing with sixth seed Do­minic Thiem of Aus­tria.

Rus­sian 19-year-old An­drey Rublev made short work of World No 46 Flo­rian Mayer of Ger­many, win­ning 6-1, 6-1 in just 44 min­utes.

Rublev will now face a tough chal­lenge against 2010 Mi­ami fi­nal­ist and 10th seed To­mas Berdych.

Frances Ti­afoe

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