Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Australian Open 2019: Bouchard, Raonic handed awkward draws

Nick Kyrgios Kyrgios insists tennis officials need to keep freshening up the sport. Pic GettyMore
Cassandra Castillo | 11 January, 2019, 16:28

Bernard Tomic won the battle of Australia's tennis bad boys with a comical trick serve through his legs at the Kooyong Classic Wednesday, as he and opponent Nick Kyrgios both talked up their chances at the Australian Open.

Serving for the contest in the second set, world number 85 Tomic moved into his service stance before chipping one ball over the net while still bouncing another, catching Kyrgios, the umpire and spectators completely off guard.

Tomic won the first battle of the tennis brats 6-3 6-4, although with little at stake it was hard to get a read on their true form heading into the first major of the year.

"I don't think there's ever been a player like BT (Tomic)", said Kyrgios after the match. "He won a title a year ago and it looks like he is carrying a bit of momentum which is good to see... he looks happy, he looks healthy".

And the assignment doesn't get any easier for fellow Australian Bernard Tomic with the Queenslander drawing last year's Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic.

Tomic's first set was nearly flawless, while Kyrgios, who made a second round exit at Brisbane last week, looked a little underdone.

More news: Mourinho free to take Real Madrid job as Manchester United pay £15m

With his silky hands in superb touch, Tomic broke for a 3-1 lead and then steamed throught the first set. "You never want to see a talent like that go down and keep being down".

Raonic is the sixteenth seed, but he drew the short straw and will open against unseeded Australian Nick Kyrgios, who is ranked No. 51 in the world.

What we might get is an indication of where each player is at just days out from the Open.

"I finally learned my lesson", Barty said.

Kyrgios, who lost in the second round in Brisbane last week, had a break-point early in the second but was unable to consolidate with Tomic then breaking at 3-3.

Playing his first event since the US Open in September, Nadal opens his bid for an 18th major title against Australian wildcard playoff victor James Duckworth, whose wretched first-round draws at the slams continued.

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