London: Arina Rodionova saved Australia's blushes — and seven match points — as she became the first Aussie through to the second round at Wimbledon on Tuesday after five previous hopefuls crashed out.
The qualifier, and World No 166, dumped out Russian 16th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 9-7 in a rollercoaster encounter, taking it on her own fifth match point.
The Australian No 4's reward for her first Wimbledon singles win is a second round clash with Han Xinyun of China or Kazakhstani wildcard Zarina Diyas.
Earlier, Bernard Tomic's defeat in the first round left Australia with just two representatives in the men's draw.
Tomic, the World No 59, lost to German 27th seed Mischa Zverev in an hour and 24 minutes in a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 defeat — making it played five, lost five for Australians at Wimbledon before Rodionova's heroics.
On Monday's opening day, Australian No 1 Nick Kyrgios retired hurt, struggling with a left hip injury, while John Millman lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets and qualifier Andrew Whittington lost to Thiago Monteiro.
Meanwhile in the women's draw, Ashleigh Barty lost to fourth seed Elena Svitolina.
Australia's remaining hopes in the men's draw were also crushed as Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro beat Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 while Albert Ramos Viñolas beat Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4).
In the women's draw, 20th seed Daria Gavrilova was in action against Croatian qualifier Petra Martic. Australia's 2011 US Open winner Sam Stosur is out injured.
Tomic had got the better of Zverev at the Eastbourne warm-up tournament but there was to be no repeat in southwest London.
Tomic had to call the trainer for treatment at one point during the match.
"He knows what to do on the grass court, knows what shots to use. He beat me quite easily a few days ago, so I was expecting very tough match," Zverev said.
"I was able to break him in the important moments, especially first set and second set early on.
"I think also he didn't feel 100 percent today, because he called the doctor, and there were a few games when I felt like he was struggling.
"I don't know what was wrong with him but I could definitely tell he was not 100 percent. But then on the other hand it kind of made it almost tougher for me, because I didn't know what to expect, because between points he was walking slowly, and he definitely acted like something was wrong.
"But then he would still, if the ball is within reach, he would still hit the ball hard, especially with the forehand, place it well, and hit a lot of winners."
Despite the setbacks so far, Kyrgios backed Kokkinakis to cause an upset against Del Potro.
"Kok is playing really well. He's got a great game. He's healthy at least. I think anything can happen. I think that's one of the toughest first rounds. I think Kokkinakis can definitely win, though," he said.
But Kokkiankis lost to the Argentinian.
Australia's last Wimbledon men's title winner was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.
Before that, John Newcombe won in 1971 and Pat Cash in 1987.
Australians won the title 13 times between 1956 and 1971 and they are third on the all-time list behind Britain and the United States.
Australia's last Wimbledon women's champion was Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.
Published Date: Jul 04, 2017 09:01 pm | Updated Date: Jul 04, 2017 10:47 pm