Thanasi Kokkinakis has rallied from a set down to beat Bernard Tomic in the all-Australian US Open qualifier to move one step closer to a place in the main draw.
In a rare sight for a qualifying encounter, the stands were full with more than 1000 fans cramming into court 12 for the marquee match of the day at Flushing Meadows.
Tomic was accused of tanking the second set as Kokkinakis reeled off eight straight games on his way to a 3-6 6-0 6-3 victory and a spot in the second round of qualifying, where he will play German Yannick Maden.
Alex Bolt beat Italian Stefano Napolitano 6-3 7-5 to progress to the last 64 along with countryman Kokkinakis, with 16 berths on offer for the final grand slam of 2018.
Bolt plays Marcelo Arevalo next and could meet Kokkinakis in the final round of qualifying after beating his fellow South Australian at the same stage at Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, Nick Kyrgios’s rankings slide has left the Australian No.1 at risk of an early-round showdown in New York with one of the US Open title favourites.
Kyrgios’s failure to defend rankings points accrued from last year’s run to the Cincinnati Masters final resulted in the one-time world No.13 falling to 30th in this week’s rankings.
His 30th seeding for the Open means Kyrgios will face a top-eight seed if he reaches the third round next week.
Open officials on Wednesday named world No.1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal as top seed ahead of Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev.