Tough win just the tonic for Tomic

Teenager Bernard Tomic admitted he was relieved to have given Australia a 1-0 lead in the opening rubber of the Davis Cup World Group play-off match against Germany on Friday. In a marathon opener which lasted three hours and 17 minutes, Tomic came from behind to seal a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win over Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe as Australia bid to return to the World Group for the first time since 2007. “I am really happy, it wasn’t a good feeling being down after the first set,” admitted the 19-year-old Tomic with former world number one Lleyton Hewitt now facing top German Florian Mayer in Friday’s other singles match. “He was playing some really good tennis, but I managed to fight my way out of it. He played a really, really good opening set. “He played some top 20 tennis out there, he has had some good results on clay and I had to play my heart out to get the win.
“I am happy with the way I moved and it will be huge for us if Lleyton can get a win now.” Stebe, ranked 127th in the world, upset the form book by taking the first set 6-2 against 19-year-old Tomic, who is ranked 42nd, after breaking the Australian early. After a slow start, Stuttgart-born Tomic responded impressivly by taking the second, then the third sets at Hamburg’s clay-court Rothenbaum stadium. Feeling the pressure, Stebe, 21, made 25 unforced errors in the third set alone which lasted 61 minutes, but quickly tightened his game considerably. The fourth set went down to a tie-break after Stebe raced into a 3-0 lead, buoyed by the home crowd, but Tomic twice broke back to make it 4-2 before the Australian leveled at 4-all, then held his nerve to win the tie-breaker.

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