'What the fudge': Tomic underarm serve stuns Kyrgios

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A quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2015, Kyrgios reached the fourth round a year ago before falling in a tight four-setter to third seed Grigor Dimitrov. "He had the ball on a string", McNamee said, predicting that he can be a unsafe floater in the Melbourne Park draw.

Kyrgios said he was happy to see Tomic back in form after missing the Australian Open a year ago when his ranking plummeted.

It was a fitting ending however for a rather tiresome contest, with Kyrgios struggling from the outset as Tomic lulled his rival into his game plan. "It's an exciting time for Australian tennis", he continued.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic and Japan's Kei Nishikori drew qualifiers in the first round.

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Because of the way the last six months of competing have gone, I could win but it's likely that I won't. I'm confident that I think it needs a good performance by my opponent probably to beat me.

"I'm not entirely sure what I will be doing but I think there will be more things on than the Australian Open draw", he said with a laugh.

But de Minaur could run into world No.2 Rafael Nadal as early as round three.

His career, not for the first time, seemed to be on the ropes but he rebounded admirably previous year to climb his way back inside the top 100, largely thanks to winning the Chengdu ATP Tour event.

What we might get is an indication of where each player is at just days out from the Open.

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The battle of the brats could hardly have ended on a more fitting note.

The world No.15 launches her title quest against Thai Luksika Kumkhum, with Barty's first big test likely to come in the fourth round against Danish defending champion Caroline Wozniacki. After the match he was optimistic of a bigger and better year around.

But the 22-year-old insists her immediate focus is on winning this week's Sydney International to complete the flawless Open build-up. However, Tomic finished the 2018 season on good terms as he won the Chengdu Open file and returned to the top-100.

The Australian Open will begin on January 14.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis, Astra Sharma and Naiktha Bains could boost the local representation in the main draws to 23 on Friday when they play final-round qualifying matches at Melbourne Park.

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