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Tomic in rare back-to-back clay wins

Press Association logoPress Association 2/05/2017 Glenn Cullen

Much-maligned Bernard Tomic has achieved something he hasn't managed to do since 2012 - win back-to-back ATP tour matches on clay.

The 40th-ranked Australian, in something of a rut this season with five first round losses, scored a battling 7-5 6-3 second round win over Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva at the Istanbul Open.

He's now likely to face top-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic for a spot in the semi-finals.

Seeded sixth at the low key ATP tournament, Tomic had battled to a three-set win in his opening round match and things looked to be headed down an equally difficult path when he was broken mid way through the first set by Dutra Silva.

But Tomic showed the kind of composure that he's been missing for much of 2017, feeding off his opponent's errors to break back before upping his game to snatch the opening set.

He lifted another cog in the second against the world No.69, breaking for a 4-2 lead.

There were a few nervous moments in Tomic's subsequent service game but he calmly served out the match on his next opportunity to grab the valuable win.

"He was playing very good in the first set and I was down one break so I was trying to make every ball," Tomic said.

"I got a chance there to get a break back and from there I started to play very very aggressive."

The last time Tomic won consecutive clay court matches on tour was at the Munich Open in 2012 where he made the quarter-finals.

He has not advanced pass the second round of the French Open in seven attempts.

A perennial struggler on the slow courts of Europe, Tomic usually makes up ground on the faster paced hard courts and then his favourite surface, grass.

But a poor finish to 2016 and lackadaisical start to this year saw his ranking slide from an all-time high of No.17 to outside the top 40.

He has designs on climbing back into the all-important top 32 in the world for Wimbledon, in order to avoid coming up against seeded players for at least the first two rounds.

But the lower tier Istanbul tournament is unlikely to see him earn the kind of points he needs to make a ranking charge unless he wins a few more matches.

Tomic also has semi-final points from Queens to defend and his fourth round appearance at Wimbledon last year so must to continue to rack up the wins over the next few months or risk a further rankings slide.

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