Australia

2011 Wimbledon: Bernard Tomic Takes Torch from Lleyton Hewitt

Australia's Bernard Tomic
Australia's Bernard TomicMichael Regan/Getty Images
James CoventryContributor IJune 26, 2011

Has Bernard Tomic arrived?

If his designated destination is Wimbledon's fourth round, then yes.

But who could now doubt the Australian's destiny includes greater designs?

The youngest player in the men's draw has produced its biggest upset with a straight-sets demolition of the fifth seed, Robin Soderling.

The first set was over in a whirlwind 17 minutes. Whish! Whoosh! 6-1!

He showed no sympathy for his ailing opponent, who looked unwell from the outset.

"I felt weak. I felt a little bit dizzy...I had some stomach problems," the Swede told reporters after the match.

That doesn't detract from the quality of Tomic's performance. The world No. 158 closed out the match in less than two hours with a potent blend of powerful passing shots and precision volleys and lobs.

"Most definitely the best achievement that I've done in my career so far and I'm really happy," he said.

It's a breakthrough that Australia has been waiting some time for. Despite his tender years, he's long been tagged as the player to take the torch from Lleyton Hewitt.

Is he really still just a teenager? Even he seemed surprised after his first-round win over Nikolay Davydenko.

"I feel really old for some reason. Feels like I'm in my 30s."

He's actually 18, and the youngest man to get this far at the All England Club since Michael Chang in 1990.

Hewitt is 30 and has been Australia's top-ranked male player for the past 11 years.

He's now about to be overtaken by Tomic.

"Well, it's a good feeling. I haven't really focused on that too much," Tomic said prior to the Soderling match.

"I know ranking will come if I win, especially if I win another game."

Tomic of course won that match, giving himself another boost in the rankings. Next up is a very winnable showdown against Belgian Xavier Malisse for a place in the quarterfinals.

Even if his journey pauses there, Tomic says this tournament already holds a special place.

"I'll always remember this is the first time I've done really well at a Grand Slam."

Yep, he's here.

Twitter: @JCoventry

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