BERNARD Tomic’s tentative steps away from tennis’ battler ranks are gathering momentum with the former world No.17 moving into the semi-finals of China’s Chengdu Open.
It wasn’t exactly the hallowed grass of Wimbledon for the tennis prodigy and his opponent — world No.147 and qualifying lucky loser Felix Auger-Aliassime — is hardly a great of the game.
But it was still an important win for the Australian who is projected to rise from his rank of 123 before the tournament to at least 101 in the world.
It puts him in the zone of not having to attempt to qualify for the Australian Open in 2019, something he tried and failed to do at this year’s event.
A tournament win, which would be his first since 2015, would see him move into the top 80 in the world.
Tomic’s 6-2 6-4 win over Canadian Auger-Aliassime puts him in a semi-final against Joao Sousa.
The Portuguese was a 6-1 3-6 6-3 winner against Malek Jaziri in their quarter-final.
Top seed Fabio Fognini will play Taylor Fritz in the other semi-final. Italian Fognini had too much class for Australian Matthew Ebden in his comfortable 6-4 6-2 win.
Young gun Fritz beat his more established fellow American Sam Querrey 7-6 (7-1) 7-5.