ATP Brisbane: Disappointing Start for Australians
Photo: EPA

The 2016 ATP World Tour season is officially underway! The new year kicked off on Monday in Brisbane at the Brisbane International with four matches, including a pair of former top-ten players and a handful of host Australians. We have waited long enough for the season to get going, so here is the recap of day one in Brisbane.


The season was opened in style with a tense battle between Grigor Dimitrov and fifth seed Gilles Simon. Dimitrov, a semi-finalist in Brisbane last season, is hoping to put a disappointing 2015 season behind him and got off to a great start. The Bulgarian claimed the decisive break in the opening set to take it 6-3.

There was little between the two baseliners in the second set, and the inevitable tiebreak ensued, and it was a cracker. It was Dimitrov taking the initiative, reaching match point five times in the breaker. But with his back against the wall, Simon would show some serious heart to deny Dimitrov the first five times of asking. But Simon’s luck ran out at 10-10, when he double-faulted to give Dimitrov match point number six. The twenty-four year-old closed out his first win of the season with a 6-3, 7-6(10) upset victory.

2015’s most improved player, nineteen year-old Hyeon Chung of South Korea, survived eleven aces from serve-monster Sam Groth to claim his first win of the season. Chung took advantage of some poor second serves from the Aussie, winning sixty-eight percent of Groth’s second serve points and reaching break point eleven times, break three times. Groth was only able to bring up four break points of his own, only winning two of them. The first set was tight, decided by an equally tight tiebreak. It was the teenager from Korea winning the close affair 10-8 to take the opening set. Chung rode the momentum into the second set, getting the key break and holding on for the 7-6(8), 6-3 upset victory.

American Denis Kudla overcame an early deficit to beat Australian wild card John-Patrick Smith 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Smith got the lone break in the opening set and it would be enough to take the early lead. However, Kudla buckled-down on serve and would not be broken again. Despite eight aces from Smith, Kudla broke the Australian once in the second set and twice in the third set, earning a hard fought win.

The Australian frustration continued when qualifier Tobias Kamke beat the third Aussie of the day Benjamin Mitchell. Kamke was dominant on serve, winning eighty-percent of his first serve points and did not face a single break point. Kamke would break Mitchell twice in the first set and once in the second to advance to the second round.

The hosts will be hoping for a better show on Tuesday, which features three more Australians, including Aussie number one Bernard Tomic