Update 10:45 pm. Bernard Tomic has wasted little time reaching his first quarterfinal on home soil with a 6-1 6-2 whitewash of qualifier Tatsuma Ito.
Japan’s world No.122 was well out of his depth against a rock-solid Tomic, giving away far too many unforced errors to be in with a shot and failing to make any inroads on the Australian’s serve.
The eighth seed admitted it was probably his quickest win on tour, but would love to have made it quicker, “maybe 6-1 6-0”, given he had match points at 5-0.
“I’m happy with the way I played if tennis was just this easy always,” he joked.
Ito was no stranger to Pat Rafter Arena having played Davis Cup for Japan against Australia on a makeshift clay surface in May 2010.
“I think he was a little bit tired and I served at a high percentage and he couldn’t get a return back. Off the ground I didn’t play the way he wanted as well,” Tomic said.
“Last time we played and the time before that was three sets and both matches were three hours over.
“Today was obviously different. I served much better than the last two times I played him.”
Tomic raced through the first set 6-1 in just 20 minutes, on the back of an impressive serving display, closing it out with an ace before holding for 4-0 in the second with back-to-back aces.
A triple break had Tomic serving for the match at 5-0 with a whipping crosscourt forehand winner bringing up two match points after just 38 minutes, but a string of loose shots, including a rare double fault, saw Tomic drop serve for the first time in the match.
Buoyed on by a record Wednesday night crowd of 5337 desperate for more tennis, Ito held but his joy was short-lived, Tomic closing it out with consecutive aces for a quarterfinal berth against Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.
Tomic will favour his chances of a career-first ATP semifinal against the unseeded Istomin, who is yet to play a full match after fourth seed Florian Mayer retired when trailing by a set in the first round before an injured Tommy Haas handed him a walkover today.
“I’ve seen him around a lot and know he can … beat a lot of good-quality players on his day,” Tomic said.
“I know he hasn’t played a full match yet but he’ll be resting and preparing for the next round. I think he’ll be ready to go.
“I’d like to think I win. I think I’ve got confidence now, winning first round here in Brisbane gave me a boost. Now I think it’s open for everybody.”
Tomic said he was a completely different player to that of a year ago, where he made a dismal 6-2 6-2 exit to Mayer in the first round in Brisbane.
“[I’m] probably 225 times better,” he joked, referring to his ranking surge.
“I feel much more confident, I’m strong.
“It’s a better feeling out there knowing you’re not a young kid anymore.”