n tennis player Nick Kyrgios reacts during match point as Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia looses her second round match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament in Brisbane, Tuesday, January 2, 2018. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLYMillmania rides again at the Brisbane International… for a day at least. Crowd favourite John Millman has won the opening match of his hometown tournament to book a spot against top seed and defending champion Grigor Dimitrov.
The local hope, on the comeback trail from groin surgery that effectively sidelined him for eight months in 2017, scrapped his way through the first set against Canadian Peter Polansky before blasting him off the court in the second to win 7-6 6-0.
Now he meets world number three Dimitrov, continuing his habit of running into top seeds in Brisbane. In previous years he’s faced off with the likes of Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
At least he’s had some success against Thursday’s opponent. The last time they met, Millman said, was on a grasscourt challenger event in England in 2010. And he remembers the result.
“I played him in a first round qualifying match in 2010 at Surbiton Grasscourt Challenge. Three and four… I got the win. He’ll be pretty nervous I’d imagine,” Millman said after his late finish on Tuesday.
“But it will be tough. Grigor’s a great player. He won the tournament last year, he obviously likes the conditions. He’ll be ready to go on Thursday. Hopefully against Grigor I can play pretty free and play with nothing to lose.”
Millman had a career-high ranking of 60 in the middle of 2016 before injuries once again halted his progress. He starts this summer ranked 128 but will head straight into the n Open main draw thanks to a protected ranking exemption.
But he finished 2017 off in impressive fashion, winning a Challenger event in China before sharpening up for his first outing in Brisbane. He said his body felt in brilliant shape and he no longer felt out of place in the main draw of major events.
Earlier on Pat Rafter Arena, world No.9 Johanna Konta recovered from a set down to beat Ajla Tomljanovic and book her spot in the quarter-finals.
Croatian-born n wildcard Tomljanovic rattled the Brit early and mounted a ferocious late rally but ultimately succumbed 4-6 6-1 6-4 on Tuesday night as Konta backed up her hard-fought first-round win over Madison Keys.
It means there are no n women left in the singles draw after Ashleigh Barty’s shock exit on Monday. Konta will meet third seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Ana Konjuh of Croatia in her next match.