AUSTRALIAN teenager Omar Jasika has dished out a bagel on grand slam debut, defeating Illya Marchenko at Melbourne Park.
Jasika, who won the US Open boys’ singles and doubles titles in 2014, trumped Ukrainian Marchenko 6-4 3-6 6-0 6-4 on Monday night. The 18-year-old showed exactly why he was awarded a wildcard entry into the main draw of the Open.
“The crowd was on my side today, which was a good feeling,” Jasika said.
“They pushed me through and it was incredible to see the crowd get on my side.”
Jasika saved three break points during the decisive fourth set, all of which came when Marchenko unsuccessfully tried to level it 4-4.
Jasika then showed experience beyond his years to serve out the game without losing a point.
The highlight of the Victorian’s impressive win was a clinical third set, which lasted just 26 minutes.
“It was my first big really match and it was a pretty good feeling to get through that,” Jasika said.
“As soon as I walked onto the court, I knew I was ready.
“After the first point I was like: ‘Okay, I can do this.’
“I just believed in myself.”
Jasika’s second-round opponent will be French ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis.
Jasika was ranked No.841 in the world in October 2014 but has since cut that number to 310.
Nonetheless, he wasn’t expected to trouble world No.76 Marchenko.
Earlier, Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic couldn’t follow compatriot Daria Gavrilova into the second round, going down 7-6(2) 6-3 to Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko on Monday.
Tomljanovic and Bondarenko took turns in breaking one another’s serves in the first set before Bondarenko reigned supreme in the second, hardly giving the young Australian – who notched 43 unforced errors – a look-in.
The Ukrainian, who retired in 2012 and then returned in 2014 after having a baby, had a match point but failed to serve out the match at 5-2, before capitalising on a disappointing Tomljanovic service game to win.
Meanwhile, Daria Gavrilova is the first Aussie to progress to the second round of the Australian Open, defeating Czech Lucie Hradecka 7-6 6-4 on Margaret Court Arena.
Russian-born Gavrilova, 21, and Hradecka made a tight start of it, neither breaking serve in the first set which the Australian claimed 7-3 in the tiebreak.
The world No.29 managed a break at 3-3 in the second set before charging to victory in trying conditions.
It didn’t help that she hadn’t had much sleep, either, she said, having let excitement at playing her first Australian Open as an Aussie take over in the last 24 hours.
“I was as nervous today as I was at the Hopman Cup. I told myself to stop overthinking and play tennis,” Gavrilova said.
“We all get nervous. You just have to stop thinking of outcomes and concetrate on how you’re winning points.
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“The support was amazing today. I was sleeping well before the tournament but anything wakes me up. Last night I didn’t sleep very well. I was too excited and I woke up really early this morning.
“But I’m very happy. She (Hradecka) hits a big ball and it was hard in the beginning to get the rhythm right.
“It’s unbelievable. It was amazing.”