Qualifier Tomic caps a day of shock and awe
Sunday 26 June 2011
It was the day of the qualifier in the men's singles yesterday as Robin Soderling, the fifth seed, and Gaël Monfils, seeded ninth, were beaten by the little known pair Bernard Tomic of Australia and Lukasz Kubot of Poland respectively.
Soderling was under the weather in every sense in the dazzling sunshine, complaining of feeling "weak and dizzy" early on during his 6-1 6-4 7-5 defeat. After a shocking first set he improved slowly in the next two, but not quickly enough to match the 18-year-old Tomic.
That first set that was over in 17 minutes. Tomic broke serve early in the second to lead 3-2 and held on without difficulty after Soderling called the trainer. In the third set the pair traded service games until the 11th, when Soderling lost a 30-love lead and was broken. Serving for the match, Tomic showed the first sign of nerves, going 15-40 down but he fought back and survived a challenge on the closest of line calls. The Swede then hit long for a match point and lost it by putting a return into the net. "It is the greatest achievement of my career so far," Tomic said.
Another seed was removed from Andy Murray's path when Monfils was surprisingly defeated by Kubot. The Frenchman has rarely prospered at Wimbledon but was still expected to reach the round of 16 for the first time. Instead, it will be the 29-year-old Pole who plays Spain's Feliciano Lopez with the winner earning a quarter-final against either Murray or Richard Gasquet. Lopez, doted on by Murray's mother Judy to her son's disgust, knocked out Andy Roddick on Friday.
Monfils resumed yesterday all-square at one set each and 3-3 against Kubot, who started much the faster to take three games in a row and with them the third set. In the fourth he was able to ride out the occasional flash of French brilliance and after wasting one match point he won the second when Monfils put a tired shot into the net. The Pole treated the Court Three crowd to an obscure celebration of the type favoured by football goalscorers to commemorate the best winof his career.
The second seed, Novak Djokovic, found the hefty Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus a tough opponent before coming through a fine match 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4. He received a warning while losing the second set for breaking his racket by banging it five times on the ground.
The Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who saw off the 15th seed Gilles Simon of France in straight sets, will face Rafael Nadal next. Del Potro said: "I play against the best player in the world, it will be a big challenge. We played this year in Indian Wells and he won really easily."
The sixth seed, Tomas Berdych, was a comfortable winner against Alex Bogomolov Jr 6-2 6-4 6-3. The latter's defeat left Mardy Fish as the only surviving American after his opponent Robin Haase of the Netherlands retired when two sets to one behind on Court 14.
Fish, who replaced Roddick as the US No 1 before the tournament, now plays Berdych and will appreciate being somewhere other than Court 14. "It's a pretty noisy place," he said. "People kind of sit on top of you. Security guards are moving around while you're serving and it's an uncomfortable court."
The powerful Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, beaten by Murray in last year's quarter-final, was too strong for Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, whom he overpowered 6-3 6-4 6-3.
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