Tomic's troubles continue, misses a spot at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Bernard Tomic's troubles have continued into 2018 with a loss in the last round of qualifying for the Australian Open.

Tomic lost 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-4 to Lorenzo Sonego on Sunday in the third round of qualifying for the main draw of the season's first major.

It will be the first time in 10 years that Tomic will miss his national championship, where he has a 17-9 win-loss record.

He lost in the third round last year and in the fourth round in 2016, the year he reached a career-high No. 17 ranking.

Tomic struggled with form, motivation and injury concerns last year as he lost in the first round of 13 tournaments, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

He was widely criticized after comments he made following the loss to Mischa Zverev at Wimbledon and was subsequently fined $15,000, roughly one-third of his tournament prize money.

The penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct was announced two days after Tomic spoke about feeling "a little bit bored out there" during his match against Zverev.

He said he "just couldn't find any motivation" to compete and acknowledged that when he called for a medical timeout, he was trying to "break a bit of momentum."

Tomic finished 2017 at No. 142 in the rankings, meaning he missed out on direct entry to the 128-player singles draw at Melbourne Park, and Australian Open organizers declined to give him a wildcard entry.

That left the 25-year-old Australian needing to compete for one of the 16 spots for qualifiers in the main draw, which starts Monday.

He saved two match points against Sonego as he served to stay in the match in the third set but, after questioning a baseline call that gave the Italian a third match point, Tomic netted a backhand to finish it off.

Sonego finished with 13 aces and 50 winners and fended off both breakpoints he faced, while Tomic had 16 winners and 30 unforced errors and had his serve broken three times.

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