Millman rides on, Tomic crashes
JOHN Millman has picked up his grand slam form where he left it, defeating world No.80 Federico Delbonis in the first round of the Australian Open, while fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic’s return to the competition was cut short by a loss to 2018 finalist Marin Cilic.
Having toiled through the first three sets, 29-year-old Millman made short work of Delbonis, winning the first five games in the fourth set before settling with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 triumph.
The popular Queenslander, who shocked the tennis world by beating Roger Federer at the US Open last year, joined a fleet of Australian winners on day one at Melbourne Park.
He did it in trademark style; on the Melbourne Park backcourts. The world No.37. Millman struck 11 aces — including three in the crunch tiebreak — and returned especially well against the 28-year-old.
But he was disappointed to drop the second set and make heavy weather of his return to Melbourne Park. “He’s a tricky customer. Lefty. Big swinging serve. So it was always going to be tricky but I made a bit harder job of it than I probably should have,” he said. “I got through and I’m happy.”
Milliman will face either 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut or retiring great Andy Murray in the second round.
Tomic, who failed to qualify for last year’s event, struggled with the big-serving Cilic’s power game, conceding 24 aces and 56 winners as he lost 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-3). In other men’s action, big-serving South African Kevin Anderson survived a mid-match scare yesterday before moving through to the second round.
An unbackable favourite, Anderson found himself locked at one-set all with Frenchman Adrian Mannarino before winning in four sets, 6-3 5-7 6-2 6-1. Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov also progressed recovered from a slow start against Janko Tipsarevic to run away with a four-set win.