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Matosevic blows it at Aust Open play-off

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016 Ben McKay

Sam Groth has survived a five-set slog on the opening day of the Australian Open playoff but Marinko Matosevic wasn't as lucky, falling to talented teenager Omar Jasika.

Groth struggled to find rhythm but finally cracked spirited opponent Dayne Kelly 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 10-8 in a match that went into a fourth hour at Melbourne Park on Monday.

The 2015 Newcombe Medallist saved a match point before finally finding a fifth-set break in the 17th game, ripping a stunning cross-court backhand to break Kelly to love.

He gave away break points in the following game before closing out the match against the unheralded world No.311.

"That was a bit tougher than I wanted but I didn't get broken all match, which is a pretty good effort," he said.

Groth joined other first-day winners John-Patrick Smith, Marc Polmans and top-seeded Andrew Whittington in the last eight.

The 16-man field is competing for a sole wildcard into January's Australian Open.

Jasika caused the upset of the day with a stunning turnaround against Matosevic, ranked 12 years and 147 places his senior.

The 31-year-old faces a stay in the tennis wilderness after blowing a two-set lead and a break in the third set, losing 4-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4.

Matosevic, 31, will now have to struggle through January's qualifying tournament to gain entry into the first grand slam of 2017, which would be his first major since Wimbledon 2015.

The combustible former top-40 talent didn't shake hands with the chair umpire after his loss, reacting angrily to a series of line calls as the match fell from his grasp.

Buoyed on by "Omar's Army" in the crowd, Jasika drew error after error out of his opponent in the third and fourth sets before triumphing in the decider.

"I think they got into his head," Jasika said of his boisterous cheer squad.

"I think he was trying to get them out of his head but he couldn't. They were just chirping away ... and then he started to get tired and fatigued because I kept him out there in the sun."

Whittington survived a major scare and a breathing problem to win his first-round match, outlasting teenage talent Max Purcell 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-2.

The Melburnian coughed between points and sought medical assistance through the three-hour match in hot conditions.

The women's tournament gets under way on Tuesday.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN WILDCARD PLAYOFF RESULTS - DAY ONE

1-Andrew Whittington def Max Purcell 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-2

2-Sam Groth def Dayne Kelly 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 10-8

Omar Jasika def 3-Marinko Matosevic 4-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4

4-Marc Polmans def Scott Jones 6-2 6-4 6-0

5-John-Patrick Smith def Maverick Banes 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-1

6-Chris O'Connell def Alex De Minaur 6-2 7-6 (7-3) 6-2

Gavin van Peperzeel def 7-Luke Saville 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 2-1 (ret)

8-Blake Mott def Harry Bourchier 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 6-1

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