Australian wildcard Jordan Thompson has flown the home flag high to be the first man into the second round of the Brisbane International after clinically dispatching Sweden’s Elias Ymer.
Sydneysider Thompson justified Tennis Australia’s decision to give him main-draw entry by taking control of the first-round match early and never giving up control to win 6-3 6-2 on Sunday on Pat Rafter Arena.
The world No.79 and Rio Olympian broke Ymer in his opening two service games to race to a 4-0 lead before the dreadlocked Swedish wildcard, ranked 160 in the world, fought back strongly.
The match transformed into an arm wrestle as Ymer broke back as game after game went to deuce before Thompson finally broke again.
The second set was far easier once the Australian broke in the fourth game and he went on to close out the entertaining encounter in 90 minutes.
Thompson will play the winner of Monday’s centre-court clash between Bernard Tomic and Spanish eighth seed David Ferrer.
The victory completed a pleasing start for local fans at 2017’s opening tournament.
Spain-based Alex De Minaur earlier ensured four Australian men would play in the main draw following his second energy-sapping qualifying triumph in two days.
De Minaur, cheered on by Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt out on court six, came back on Sunday to overcome American Frances Tiafoe 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 19 minutes in the sweltering 35-degree conditions.
Hewitt, who has worked hard with the 17-year-old over the past two months, was highly impressed.
“I’m just rapt for Alex,” he said. “He gets an opportunity now to play in a main draw of an ATP Tour event. What a way to start the new year.
“He has a lot of ability, he wants to work hard (and) puts in a lot of hard hours … that’s the main reason he was able to win today.”
De Minaur joins Tomic, Thompson and wildcard Sam Groth in the main draw.
John-Patrick Smith was poised to join them there as well, putting up a mighty battle against American Jared Donaldson, before falling 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-2).