Alex Bolt couldn’t live up to the high watermark he set at last year’s Australian Open as he was taken out in straight sets by 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov on Margaret Court Arena.
Bolt had pushed eventual finalist Dominic Thiem in a thrilling five-setter in 2020 but Dimitrov had too much star quality for the Australian on Wednesday night, winning 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 6-2.
After an encouraging first-up win against Norbert Gombos, the world No.166 was well in the first set against Dimitrov, a three-time grand slam semi-finalist.
A break point opportunity in the eighth game of the first set was the best look Bolt got before the Bulgarian ran through the tiebreak and then the rest of the match.
It hadn’t been the best of days for the Australian contingent with only Nick Kyrgios winning through to the third round.
Kyrgios took out an epic five-setter against Frenchman Ugo Humbert, prevailing 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 after saving two match points in the fourth set.
It was quite the opposite for compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic, who was up 5-2 in the deciding set only to lose to world No.2 Simona Halep.
A major upset had been brewing but Tomljanovic ultimately succumbed 4-6 6-4 7-5 after losing the last five games.
Bernard Tomic’s match against Denis Shapovalov was much more straightforward – unfortunately not in favour of the Australian.
The 11th-seeded Canadian was far too good, winning 6-1 6-3 6-2.
Earlier, classy Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime ended James Duckworth’s Australian Open campaign with a straight-sets second-round romp.
Duckworth went down 6-4 6-1 6-2.
Eight Australians remain in contention at the season-opening grand slam.