Duckworth goes down in Brisbane

Brisbane International wildcard entry James Duckworth slumped to a 6-3, 4-6, 3-6 defeat against Austria's Dominic Thiem during their first round encounter on Tuesday.

There were just five breaks of serve during what was ultimately a quality fixture between the two youngsters and three of those were recorded during a fiercely-contested second set. The most critical of those breaks was recorded during the tenth game of the second stanza.

Duckworth, who had already won a break back earlier in the set, was trailing 5-4 and serving to stay in the set. The Australian had managed to establish a 30-0 lead in that game but as it so happens that ultimately turned out to be the last time he had any control of the game. 

While one break point was saved, Thiem produced the necessary composure to finish the job.

Any doubts that the third set between these two would be a thriller were quickly erased, when games two, three and four proved to be bruising affairs. 

Four break points were saved during that period and on all three occasions, the player serving was severely under the cosh for much of the game. The tipping point in the fixture came in the fifth game of the final set, when Thiem dropped just one point on his serve.

The comfortable hold essentially meant that the pressure would now be on Duckworth and despite establishing a 30-15 lead he did not have the nerve to keep himself in the contest, as he failed to save the first break point he faced in that game.

Thiem sensed his opponent's distress and with the ball firmly on his racquet he tightened the screws after executing the break, by holding to love to establish a 5-2 lead. As it is often said, the writing was ultimately on the wall.

Dodig triumphs 

The misery continued for the Australians on Tuesday, when qualifier Oliver Anderson went down in straight sets to Croatian Ivan Dodig. The final score in that fixture was 6-2, 6-2 and the match was as one-sided as the scoreline would suggest.

Dodig wrapped the fixture up in just more than an hour and he did not face a single break point during that period. The result was never in doubt. 

In other early results on Tuesday, Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci could not defy the odds against David Goffin, who beat him 6-4, 6-4.

Gritty American Steve Johnson put up a stern fight against comeback kid Victor Troicki, forcing the first set to a tie break. However, Johnson's Serbian opponent eventually triumphed 7-6 (3), 6-1, booking his passage to the next round of the tournament. The story of the day perhaps, was that of Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, who beat Dusan Lajovic 6-0, 6-3, in what was actually a rather emphatic performance.

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