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Tomic In Confident Mood; Nieminen Edges Haas

Melbourne, Australia

Tomic© AFP/Getty ImagesBernard Tomic has set his sights on the Top 10 in 2013.

Home favourite Bernard Tomic declared he is a different person after starting his Australian Open campaign with an emphatic 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Argentine Leonardo Mayer on Tuesday night in Melbourne.

The Australian No. 1 came into the first major of the year after winning his first ATP World Tour title in Sydney last week (d. Anderson). He reached the fourth round in Melbourne last year, falling to Roger Federer.

“I just feel a different person getting into this slam. I'm so confident and just want to play and give myself the best chance to win each match,” said the Gold Coast native, who broke serve five times to dismiss Mayer in one hour and 32 minutes. “I have changed so much and it's made me become a better person off court and a better player on court.”

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The 20 year old revealed he hopes to build on his success and drive on towards the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. “I think it's very achievable the way I'm going. I'm going to have so many opportunities, and hopefully I can win more tournaments this year. I'm looking at every tournament I go into to try and win it. Doesn't matter who I'm playing, I'm going to try and win.”

In a match for the tennis purists, Frenchman Gael Monfils ousted Ukrainian No. 18 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7(7), 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3. Former World No. 7 Monfils, who is on the comeback from a knee injury that sidelined him for much of 2012, hit 56 winners  and fired 26 aces to overcome Dolgopolov in their first meeting.

Another seed fell in a contest between two of the ATP World Tour’s veterans. Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, 31, saved one match point as he edged 34-year-old Tommy Haas 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, 8-6 in just over four hours. 

Germany’s Haas looked set to clinch his fourth win in four meetings with Nieminen when he led 30/40 on the Finn’s serve at 5-6 in the final set, but failed to convert and subsequently double faulted twice to lose his own serve.

"Anytime you lose, especially with match point, is obviously disappointing,” said Haas. “That's the sport; unfortunately you have these ups and downs. It's a tough pill to swallow, but that's how it goes." 

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