Swede victory puts Tomic in the spotlight

Eighteen-year-old becomes youngest player left in men's draw to equal Michael Chang's record after beating Soderling.

    Tomic's win unseated former champion Lleyton Hewitt as Australia's number one player [GALLO/GETTY]

    Bernard Tomic's profile page on the ATP Tour website was blank before he beat Wimbledon fifth seed Robin Soderling in the third round – but people will now be reading a lot more about the youngest player left in the draw.

    The last time an 18-year-old got this far in the men's singles at the grass-court Grand Slam was 21 years ago, when American Michael Chang achieved the feat. And Tomic has no intention of stopping.
     
    "I didn't know that I was the (first) 18-year-old that got there in the fourth round after 21 years. You don't really put your mind to it," the Australian said after his dashing display had filled the stands at Court One.

    His commanding 6-1 6-4 7-5 demolition of the Swede should be cause for Xavier Malisse to be on the lookout.

    The 30-year-old Belgian reached the semi-finals here in 2002 but will have his work cut out against Tomic, who took Malisse to three sets last year at the Queen's Club grass-court tournament.
     
    Tomic will also end Lleyton Hewitt's 11-year reign as Australian number one in the next rankings.

    Born in Germany, he moved to Australia at age three and started playing tennis at seven, before becoming the youngest player to win a Grand Slam junior title with victory at the 2008 Australian Open.
     
    A year later Tomic entered the record books again, his Australian Open first round win over Italian Potito Starace making him the youngest player in the Open era to win a main draw match at the year's first Grand Slam.

    His career, though short and already full of promise, is not without controversy.
     
    Tomic's father and coach John was involved in a heated exchange with the Hewitt camp over an alleged training snub at Wimbledon in 2009, and the former world number one has said he thought Tomic did not merit a place on the Australian Davis Cup team.

    The scene was a far happier one on Court One on Saturday however as he swept through the first set in just 17 minutes. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


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