Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - Lukas Rosol plays Bernard Tomic in the 1st round of qualifying of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 7 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)
It’s Bernard Tomic’s off-court exploits, not his on-court achievements, that have kept his name in the headlines of late.
The enigmatic Aussie publicly sparred with countryman Lleyton Hewitt during the Australian Open, the former mentor-mentee duo taking jabs at each other in the media. It was just the latest episode in the career of a player once viewed as his home nation’s most promising talent, a former Top-20 performer with an imposing arsenal that seemed to match his 6-foot-5 frame.
The former Indian Wells quarterfinalist (2015) was in for another battle on Tuesday in Stadium 7, facing Czech veteran Lukas Rosol in the qualifying rounds of the BNP Paribas Open. Now ranked No. 82, Tomic came out on the short of a 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-3 decision.
The tight opening stanza would come down to a tiebreak, with the No. 140-ranked Rosol finally making good on his fourth set-point opportunity with a clean forehand winner.
Tomic managed to work his way back into the match in the second set, breaking his 33-year-old opponent at love for a 3-2 advantage, and adding another for 5-2. But Rosol, who totaled seven aces to five double faults in the one-hour, 46-minute match, played determined tennis in the third, separating himself with a break for 4-2 when a Tomic backhand landed beyond the baseline.
It marked Rosol’s first win over Tomic in three FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters. He’ll next face another Aussie, No. 131-ranked Alexei Popyrin, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Slovak Jozef Kovalik.