Aussie teen Jordan Thompson was left with mixed emotions after just falling short in his clash with world No.9 Richard Gasquet at the AAMI Classic.
Australian teen Jordan Thompson was left with mixed emotions after falling just short of a major upset in his clash with world No.9 Richard Gasquet at the AAMI Classic.
The 19-year-old was thrilled to take the Frenchman to a tie-break in the third set but also disappointed that he didn’t finish with the win, going down 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-4).
Thompson, ranked 321, was serving for the match at 5-3 but couldn’t close it out despite three successive aces while down 40-0.
He then had two match points at 5-4 but again missed his opportunity.
A double fault by the Sydneysider in the tiebreak then gave Gasquet a break which he used to wrap up the result.
“It’s pretty disappointing after having those match points but he’s nine in the world,” said Thompson, who was included in the invitational eight-man field at Kooyong after the late withdrawal of defending champion Lleyton Hewitt.
“I feel like I can play with those guys.”
He will get a chance to test those claims on the big stage next week after earning entry to the Australian Open by winning the wildcard play-off.
Coached by former pro Jamie Morgan, Thompson said he wouldn’t get “too cocky” but was buoyed by his performance.
“It’s confidence-boosting, losing 7-6 in the third to a player like Richard Gasquet.”
The French No.1, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open last year, said Thompson had a bright future.
“He surprised me; he’s talented and he’s serving well,” Gasquet said.
“He deserves his wildcard into the Australian Open.”
In other day one matches world No.17 Kei Nishikori showed he was on track to improve his best ever grand slam showing after he overcame Bulgarian No.23 Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.
The Japanese No.1 was a surprise quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2012 and said he wanted to at least equal that result.
“I love to play in Australia, so hopefully I can go more than semi-finals this year,” Nishikori said.
World No.7 Czech Tomas Berdych had a slow start before overcoming Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-2.