Tennis

Published: Friday March 21, 2014 MYT 2:47:53 PM
Updated: Friday March 21, 2014 MYT 2:47:53 PM

Nieminen beats Tomic in record 28 minutes

MIAMI (Reuters) - Finland's Jarkko Nieminen claimed the fastest ever ATP Tour win on Thursday by crushing Australian Bernard Tomic 6-0 6-1 in 28 minutes and 20 seconds to advance to the second round of the Sony Open.

World number 74 Tomic had not played since retiring injured against Rafa Nadal in the Australian Open first round in January and won just 13 points in the shortest match since the Tour began keeping official records in 1991.

Nieminen's win eclipsed the 1996 record set by Briton Greg Rusedski who defeated Carsten Arriens 6-0 6-0 at the Sydney International in 29 minutes.

"I felt like I did the best that I could and I'm happy with the way I'm coming back," said 21-year-old Tomic, who had hip surgery after Melbourne Park.

"Hopefully in a little bit of time I can get back to 100 percent.

"It's not easy but I'm trying, doing everything, doing my best to get there."

Once regarded his country's brightest prospect and a future top 10 player, Australian tennis fans have grown increasingly weary of the two-time junior grand slam champion's lack of progress along with a string of controversies that have blighted his career.

After reaching the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals at the age of 18, Tomic was booted off Australia's Davis Cup team the following year for a perceived lack of commitment in the wake of a string of late-season fade-outs.

He earned the nickname 'Tomic the Tank Engine' after an infamous straight sets loss to American Andy Roddick at the 2012 U.S. Open where he was accused of not trying by former players and pundits.

His career has since been overshadowed by his father and coach John Tomic, who was found guilty by a Spanish court last year for assaulting a former practice partner and banned by the ATP from accreditation to his son's events.

Despite playing injured against Spanish world number one Rafa Nadal, Tomic was jeered by centre court fans at his home grand slam when he pulled out the match after losing the first set.

News of his record trouncing by 40th-ranked journeyman Nieminen drew scathing criticism in Australian media and social networks on Friday.

"Tomic was returning from a month off with injury so there will be excuses," a column on News Ltd websites said.

"But this performance didn't so much scrape the bottom of the barrel as drill straight through it."

(Additional reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by John O'Brien)

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