Tomic’s time to step it up at the Open

Bernard Tomic candidly admits his Australian Open hasn’t quite gone to plan as yet.

Tomic had been intent on cashing in on his 16th seeding by expending as little energy as possible in reaching the second week.

“I’m doing a great job of that, aren’t I?” Tomic said sarcastically ahead of his all-Australian third-round showdown on Saturday with John Millman.

Tomic has laboured for bang on six hours in posting a pair of hard-fought four-set wins over Denis Istomin and Simone Bolelli and knows he needs to step it up against Millman.

The last thing the Australian No.1 needs – apart from a shock loss to Millman of course – is another marathon before a likely fourth-round confrontation on Monday with four-time finalist Andy Murray.

“It’s tough always playing tough matches first, second round,” Tomic said.

“I feel pretty physically good but now I just have to recover, recover.

“John Millman, he’s playing very, very good. He’s in good form. It’s not going to be an easy match. He’s going to make a lot of, lot of balls.”

The two Queenslanders have never clashed at professional level but Tomic remembers well taking on Millman, three years his senior, as teenagers.

“We’ve played a lot in the challengers when I was about 14, 15, 16,” Tomic said.

“I think we played maybe once or twice. I think I got him both times.

“But he’s improved so much. He’s a huge competitor. He has a lot to do with the Davis Cup now. He’s a huge supporter over there. He’s such a nice guy.

“I congratulate him for making the third round. It’s, I think, his best achievement at a grand slam.

“It’s something he’s also very proud of. He’s looking for sure to maybe to go into the fourth round.

“It’s not easy playing a player like this. He deserves to be where he is now. I have to come out playing my tennis. I know I’ll have a chance to win.”

A much better chance than Tomic concedes he would have had playing big-serving left-hander Gilles Muller, who Millman took out in five sets in his second-round struggle.

“I hate playing the guy,” Tomic said.

“I think I’m down 3-love, or 4-love to Muller. I was watching. I was excited in my way that John won, excited to not face Gilles.”

16-BERNARD TOMIC (AUS) v JOHN MILLMAN (AUS) – first meeting:

BERNARD TOMIC

Age: 23

Ranking: 17

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US3,634,181 ($A5.21 million)

Career win-loss: 135-117

Career titles: 3

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 15-7

Best Australian Open results: fourth round 2012, 2015

JOHN MILLMAN

Age: 26

Ranking: 95

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: US$553,720 ($A790,870)

Career win-loss: 10-18

Career titles: 0

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 2-2

Best Australian Open result: third round 2016

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