Bernard Tomic has been eliminated from the Sydney International quarter-finals in a thrilling showdown against Gilles Muller on Thursday night.
The 22-year-old failed to capitalise on a number of match-saving chances, falling just short in in a marathon second set tiebreaker to lose 7-6 7-6.
Other than a scare in the fourth game, when he almost gave up a three-point lead on serve, Tomic was able to confidently force a first set tiebreaker where he took a 2-1 advantage before dropping five of the next six points (7-3) to fall behind a set.
He fought back from 15-40 to save a break in the first game of the second set and saved two match points in 12th game to force the tiebreaker, setting up a brutal 15-13 Muller win in the decider.
“It was really exciting,” Muller said on-court after emerging from the epic tiebreaker. “It was really nice to play in front of the crowd today. It’s my second time in Sydney, the first time I lost in the first round, so I’m very happy I’m doing well here.”
When asked if he was aware that he had achieved a near 80 percent first serve success rate against Tomic, the 31-year-old chuckled while responding, “That’s not bad”, over the applause of the spectators at Ken Rosewall Arena.
Mulller will meet qualifier Viktor Troicki in the semi-final after the Serbian defeated Italian Simone Bolelli 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-1.
“I haven’t played (Troicki) yet, but I know him and he’s a very good player,” Muller said of the matchup. “He’s coming back also after being out for a while and you could see right away that he’s a top player and it’s going to be a very tough match. He’s a tough fighter, very solid on the baseline, so I guess I will have to serve again like today.”
Photo: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images.