A valiant Sara Tomic has fallen short in her first qualifying match at the Australian Open on Thursday, losing 2-6 5-7 to Austria's Tamira Paszek.
Sara, the younger sister of Bernard Tomic, was outclassed by the Austrian in straight sets, with the match lasting one hour and 30 minutes.
The 15-year-old Tomic looked comfortable on Show Court 3, in what was only her second WTA event, a promising sign for Australian tennis fans in the future.
Whilst she was easily outclassed in the first set, her improvement towards the latter stages of the match was encouraging.
Her opponent, Paszek, set the tone early by breaking Tomic with confident baseline strokes and strong serves.
With both players happy to battle it out at the back of the court, Tomic showed signs of fight when she broke back in the second set, and gained in confidence as the match progressed.
Tomic managed to break Paszek's serve twice in the second set, winning five consecutive games against the Austrian. However, she lacked experience at some key moments and Paszek eventually fought back to claim the match in straight sets.
Paszek, who saw her ranking slip in 2013, was pleased with her performance: “I'm just trying to stick out there, stick to my game plan and improve every shot. It was quite a tough first match but I’m very happy to be moving through”.
Despite showing a bit of uncertainty in the second set, she praised Tomic’s efforts: “She served unbelievably and I just lost a bit of my focus and she just kept hitting winners”.
Tomic’s loss marked the eighth Australian to fall short in the qualifying rounds for the main draw of this year's Australian Open. But with plenty of potential on the horizon, Tomic was especially happy with "that second set”.
“I’ve been training hard on my technique and my forehand, after a few games, I started hitting more winners and getting my movements a bit smoother,” she said.
Tomic is now looking forward to next week when she begins the junior tournament at the Australian Open: “I’m really excited, I can’t wait to play. Hopefully everyone comes out to support me”
Paszek will now move on to the second round where she will face China’s Ying-Ying Duan who advanced after knocking out Kazakhstan’s Sesil Karatantcheva.