Sydneysider Jordan Thompson was unable to replicate his Davis Cup heroics as he returned to Pat Rafter Arena on Monday night, losing in the first round to rising American star Jared Donaldson at the Brisbane International.
Brisbane had been the scene of one of Thompson’s career highlights when he stunned America’s best player Jack Sock in the Davis Cup tie in April, setting up an n victory. Thompson would later knock Sock out of the US Open in another boilover.
But his luck against Americans would run out against Donaldson, the 21-year-year old from Rhode Island currently ranked 54 in the world. His height, crisp baseline play and superior serve would be the difference as he took the clash in straight sets 6-2 6-4.
It was a disappointing night for the 23-year-old Thompson (94), who entered the first round with fond memories of the arena and would have hoped to get over the line in front of a home crowd that tried to rally him time and again.
He looked off his game from the opening rallies of the first set and despite trying desperately to fight his way out of the fog, could never generate any meaningful rhythm or momentum throughout the contest.
There were issues with his serve all night, including a number of foot faults, while Donaldson was able to use his quicker first serve to far better effect as light breezes swirled around the inside of the centre court.
Thompson was slow out of the blocks, trailing 4-1 in the opening set before finally being broken three times as Donaldson stepped up his attack to take it 6-2.
The n showed signs of life in the second set as Donaldson starting to lose his cool, engaging in a heated argument with the umpire over a line call before regrouping to regain control of his temper and contest.
Thompson pushed him late but could never land the blow that would have taken it to a deciding set. Donaldson will now meet the winner of the match between Denis Istomin and seventh seed Damir Dzumhur.
While Thompson departed on Monday, Matthew Ebden flew the local flag in the men’s draw, setting up a round two clash with Nick Kyrgios, who was given a pass through the opening bracket.
Donaldson is regarded as one of the leading hopes for an American resurgence on the men’s tour. Tour veterans Sock, John Isner and Sam Querrey are all in the ATP top 20 but none of them have been able to break through for a Grand Slam title.