Bernard Tomic’s woes continue.
A week after being dumped from Australia’s Davis Cup squad for his “unacceptable” criticism of Tennis Australia, the world No.25 suffered a shock first-round defeat to fellow countryman John-Patrick Smith at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport.
Tomic lost 6-3 7-5 in only 70 minutes to the 156th-ranked Smith, who registered his maiden ATP win.
“It was tough to find a rhythm, and he was playing good,” said Tomic. “Full credit to him.”
Tomic, who was kicked out of the Davis Cup squad over his “unacceptable” criticism of Tennis Australia (TA) officials including Pat Rafter and CEO Craig Tiley after his third-round Wimbledon exit, was granted a tournament wildcard.
The result was a massive boost for Smith, who took 15 of 23 points off Tomic’s second serve and surrendered only one service break.
“It was a very tough match today,” said Smith. “It’s a great win.
“I’ve known him since I was a kid, we get along great.
“It’s always tough playing a friend out there.”
The Queenslander had been 0-5 in ATP matches after first-round losses this year to South African Kevin Anderson at Delray Beach and Frenchman Kenny De Schepper in five sets at Wimbledon.
Next up for Smith will be 166th-ranked American Jared Donaldson, who beat 125-rated compatriot Austin Krajicek 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 6-2.
Meanwhile Croatian second seed Ivo Karlovic blasted 11 aces and never faced a break point in battling past Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (6/8) 6-4. Karlovic took the only break of the match to advance after two hours and 23 minutes.
Japan’s Tatsuma Ito outlasted US wildcard Noah Rubin 6-3 6-7 (7/9) 6-4 to book a second-round date with US seventh seed Steve Johnson, who downed Germany’s Michael Berrer 6-7 (6/8) 6-1 6-2.
Also advancing was Colombia’s Alejandro Falla, who ousted Spain’s Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 6-1 7-5.