Tomic into Wimbledon quarter-finals

London: Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic extended his fairytale run at Wimbledon into the quarter-finals after crushing Belgium`s Xavier Malisse 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 in the fourth round on Monday.

Tomic is the first qualifier to reach the last eight at Wimbledon since Vladimir Voltchkov in 2000 and the teenager will play second seeded Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic or France`s Michael Llodra for a place in the semi-finals.

The 18-year-old had already become the youngest man to reach the Wimbledon fourth round since Michael Chang in 1990 by defeating world number five Robin Soderling on Saturday.

Now Tomic, ranked 158th in the world, can look forward to his first Grand Slam quarter-final after demolishing world number 42 Malisse in one hour and 21 minutes.

Tomic, who also beat Russian 29th seed Nikolay Davydenko in the first round, has long been earmarked as one of the sport`s rising stars after winning the Australian and US Open junior titles.

But he nearly didn`t make it to Wimbledon after coming within five points of losing his first match in the qualifying event.

This was a far more emphatic victory. Malisse, 30, reached the semi-finals at the All England Club in 2002, but it was Tomic who made a red-hot start on the sun-baked Court 18.

In sweltering temperatures, Tomic broke Malisse twice as he raced into a 5-0 lead.

Malisse finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth game, but Tomic responded by finishing off the first set after just 21 minutes.

Tomic found it harder to dominate the second set as Malisse finally found some rhythm. But the Australian kept the pressure on, landed the decisive break at 5-5 and held serve to open up a two-set advantage.

Tomic was playing with too much imagination and power for Malisse to hold out.

He produced a sublime forehand winner on the run to break for a 5-4 lead in the third set before serving out the match and celebrated by exchanging high-fives with Australian fans.

Bureau Report

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