Tomic set for Open contest

TEENAGE star Bernard Tomic earned a wildcard into next week’s Australian Open with his hot run at the Sydney International but Tennis Australia says the Gold Coaster would’ve missed out if he flopped.

Tomic and Davis Cup player Carsten Ball yesterday received the final two discretionary invitations into the men’s main draw for the Melbourne Park grand slam event, while fellow Australians Sally Peers and Sophie Ferguson received the last two women’s wildcards.

Tomic, a former Australian Open junior champion, clinched his wildcard with three impressive qualifying wins over top-100 rivals in Sydney in the past week, while Ball achieved some solid results on tour last year, including victory in a Challenger event in the US and qualifying for Wimbledon.

“These (wildcards) are always difficult decisions,” Tennis Australia’s head of men’s tennis Todd Woodbridge said yesterday.

“We wanted to see players achieve some results, and Carsten has certainly done that throughout the (past) year.”

Tomic withdrew from last month’s Australian Open wildcard playoff in Melbourne citing illness, only to upset TA officials by practising the next day in Brisbane, where he proceeded to bomb out in the first round last week.

But the 18-year-old’s form in Sydney was too good to ignore.

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