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Tomic in Kooyong Classic tennis opener

Bernard Tomic will take on American Jack Sock in the first match at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, as he warms up for the Australian Open.

Tomic in Kooyong Classic tennis opener

Bernard Tomic will take on American Jack Sock in the first match at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, as he warms up for the Australian Open.

BERNARD TOMIC of Australia competes in his first round match during 2018 Australian Open Qualifying at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia.
BERNARD TOMIC of Australia competes in his first round match during 2018 Australian Open Qualifying at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. Picture:Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

Bernard Tomic will emerge from the wilderness of a different kind in his tennis return to court at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne against American Jack Sock.

The last time Tomic played in Australia was during Australian Open qualifying with a disappointing loss to little-known Italian Lorenzo Sonego.


He followed up that setback with a brief stint on "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here", set in Africa, with many wondering if he'd get back to his best.

But the 26-year-old re-focused after the ugly start to 2018 and finished on high by winning September's Chengdu Open in China after coming through as a qualifier.

He had to win seven matches to lift the trophy and saved four match points in the final against world No.13 Fabio Fognini.

With his Open berth secured this year by his world No.85 ranking, Tomic has committed to a busy schedule at the Kooyong exhibition event.

The Queenslander will play three matches in two days, starting with Sock, who has also had recent challenges.

Ranked as high as eight early last year, Sock dipped to 105 on the back of some poor form and bereft of confidence, focusing mostly on doubles during the back half of 2018.

Tomic will back up later on Tuesday in mixed doubles, partnering his sister Sara against another home-grown duo John and Sally Peers.

Tomic will also play countryman Nick Kyrgios on Wednesday, although their match time is still to be released.

Tomic kept his head down training over the Christmas break and tournament director Peter Johnston said he was taking the Open warm-up seriously.

"Bernie has been really focused about when he's playing and what he's playing and coming down and how he's preparing," Johnston told RSN radio on Monday.

"I feel like clearly the Australian Open is a big target for him and, because he hasn't played a full match since he won in Chengdu, I think he's really focused on every bit of court time in match conditions."

World No.5 Juan Martin del Potro, No. 6 Kevin Anderson, who won a title last week in India, and seventh-ranked Marin Cilic will all be in action this week in the three-day tournament.

Other matches scheduled for Tuesday include American Amanda Anisimova up against young Brit Katie Boulter, before Australian Jason Kubler takes on Janko Tipsarevic from Serbia.

AAP


AAP




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