Duck­worth, Tomic eye first-night up­sets

NewsMail - - SPORT - – Jay Clark

TEN­NIS: Aus­tralian wild­card James Duck­worth will try to ex­ploit Rafael Nadal’s in­ter­rupted prepa­ra­tion in to­day’s firstround show­down.

Ranked 238, Duck­worth has not pro­gressed past Round 1 of a grand slam in more than two years, but is hope­ful of pulling of a stun­ning upset against the cham­pion Spaniard in the pair’s first meet­ing to­day.

Once again, Nadal’s fit­ness is one of the big talk­ing points, as the pop­u­lar vet­eran searches for his sec­ond Open crown.

Nadal, 32, had an­kle surgery in Novem­ber and suf­fered a quad prob­lem which forced the No.2 seed to pull out of last week’s Bris­bane In­ter­na­tional.

But Nadal brushed aside some of those con­cerns in his fi­nal hit-up at Mel­bourne Park yes­ter­day, as the pair pre­pare for a scorcher on Rod Laver Arena to­day.

Bernard Tomic, mean­while, can look to get his roller­coaster ten­nis ca­reer back on track with one of the big­gest wins of his ca­reer tonight.

Af­ter an en­cour­ag­ing sec­ond half of last sea­son, Tomic will at­tempt to con­tinue his im­proved form against No.6 seed Marin Cilic on Mar­garet Court Arena.

For Tomic, 26, it is a mam­moth chal­lenge against the Croat who last year pushed Roger Fed­erer to five sets in the fi­nal.

But Tomic de­feated Cilic in their last en­counter in 2015.

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