The sixth-seeded Australian was sent packing from a tournament in the first round for a second consecutive week, after blowing a one-set to love lead over Belgian Steve Darcis to eventually lose 3-6 6-1 6-4.
Tomic had a 4-1 lead in the final set but the Belgian world No.57, who had to go through qualifying, reeled off five straight games to take the match. The loss condemned the Australian world No.31 to his third first round loss out of four tournaments in 2017, with his only wins coming in the first and second rounds of the Australian Open.
Bernard Tomic of Australia. Source:Getty Images
Tomic began the year with a straight-sets loss to Spanish veteran David Ferrer in Brisbane and last week lost to world No.140 Barbadian Darian King 6-4 6-4 in the first round of the Memphis Open.
It was Tomic’s third straight loss to a lower-ranked opponent but it was the manner of this defeat that raised eyebrows on social media. Tomic has had his on-court attitude questioned several times in the past and some were again questioning whether he was giving his best effort.
Never wish illness or injury on anyone, but rather hope Bernard Tomic was ill or injured. https://t.co/yskdRfVCeB
— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) February 21, 2017
Bernard Tomic loses opening round match against Steve Darcis at #DelRayBeachOpen, it’s his third straight loss to a lower ranked player pic.twitter.com/F6CxxK4hBu
— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) February 21, 2017
It wasn’t all bad news for Tomic though, it was also announced he is playing doubles with Australian Open finalist Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells, in March. And spending time with the Spanish great on the court could be just what he needs to get his season going.
As for Darcis — the recent hero of Belgium’s Davis Cup win over Germany after beating both Phillipp Kohlschriber and Alexander Zverev — he awaits either Memphis finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili or German veteran Tommy Haas. While Tomic suffered a bad day on court there were no such troubles for either Milos Raonic or Jack Sock.
Top seed Raonic powered his way to a 6-1 6-4 win over American qualifier Tim Smyczek, belting down 10 aces in the process.
Sock, the world No.21 took a bit longer to progress but did so with a straight sets win over Moldova’s Radu Albot 6-4 7-6 (7-2).