Bernard Tomic has cruised through his French Open first-round clash to become the third Australian male into the second round at Roland Garros this week.
Despite declaring “I suck on clay” in the lead-up to his first-round match, Tomic looked assured as he closed out the straight sets victory over lowly-ranked American Brian Baker 6-3 6-4 6-4.
The win, just his third at Roland Garros from seven campaigns, matches his best ever return at his least-suited grand slam and puts him through to the second round, where he joins 17th seed Nick Kyrgios and wildcard Jordan Thompson.
The 23-year-old saved all but one of the nine break point opportunities he offered Baker, and was efficient in converting four of the seven which fell his way to take the advantage in each set.
Tomic’s claycourt season left much to be desired, with the 20th seed going winless through four matches, but that mattered for little as he pushed Baker around the court on Tuesday.
Earlier, Arina Rodionova became the first Australian casualty of the tournament, losing to Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh 6-2 6-3 in 62 minutes.
Rodionova was broken twice in the first set as Konjuh raced to a 5-1 lead inside 20 minutes, with the Australian making seven unforced errors while hitting just four winners.
Rodionova made her young opponent work harder in the second set, fighting through a seven-minute opening game to hold serve, but conceded the crucial break in the seventh game to go down 4-3 as Konjuh motored to victory with another break.
Four more Australians are in first-round action on Tuesday with John Millman locked at a set-apiece with 15th seed John Isner and Samantha Stosur in a dogfight with Japan’s Misaki Doi, with both matches held over from last night.
Later, Sam Groth faces the enormous task of nine-times champion Rafael Nadal and Daria Gavrilova takes on Colombian claycourt specialist Mariana Duque-Marino.