What was billed as the young Aussie pretender against the greatest player of all time didn't disappoint. Even though Roger Federer took total charge in the end to win 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1, 20-year-old Bernard Tomic played his part in a beautifully constructed duel that had the packed crowd on Rod Laver Arena in raptures.
It was tennis for the purist between two players who know how to use every inch of the court and switch from slice to top-spin forehand and back with bewildering speed and accuracy.
It was typical of Federer that he made a statement straight up. Amazingly, Tomic came into the match, not only unbeaten in 2013, but having dropped serve only once in the three events he had played. So the maestro broke him in the opening game. "Right young man," Federer might have said. "Now let's get on with it."
To his credit, Tomic did just that and kept Federer at bay for long periods of the match, thwarting nine more break-point opportunities that the Swiss carved out for himself un...