Bernard Tomic produced the performance of his career so far and set a marker down ahead of the Australian Open by beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the Hopman Cup.
Tomic looked the better player in both sets breaking the world number one in the ninth game in each stanza to run out the winner 6-4, 6-4.
Looking in career-best shape, Tomic served impeccably and matched the incredibly fit Serbian ace around the court.
The winning point epitomised Tomic's performance hitting an audacious cross-court backhand winner from beyond the baseline.
"This is especially something I needed before the Australian Open," Tomic said.
"I'm playing the best tennis I've played the last few years. So I'm really happy with myself.
"I'm just happy that after training the last few months, this is all coming good.
"The training's paying off. It's a huge feeling to do this."
After a 2012 where Tomic fell foul of Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter and dropped out of the top 50 from a career high 27, the 20-year-old put in a display suggesting he may reach his potential this year.
Tomic had lost all of his previous eight competitive games against the big four in men's tennis, including three games against Djokovic.
The reigning Australian Open champion was full of praise for his opponent, making no excuses for his defeat.
"I've been saying the last couple of years that he's right up there with the up-and-coming players," Djokovic said.
"He's very talented and he knows the game really well. He plays very well for somebody of his age.
"Obviously for him, it's important to be consistent to be successful throughout the whole year.
"He's been playing really well in Australia, but he wasn't managing to maintain that level.
"It's up to him to see how he can adjust to the many different surfaces, but he definitely has the game."
In the second match of the quarter-final tie against Serbia, Ana Ivanovic defeated Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-3 to level the score at one apiece.
Tomic and Barty could not complete a shock win against the tournament favourites, as the pair lost a tight doubles match against Djokovic and Ivanovic 6-4, 6-7 (8-10), 10-6 after a match tie-break.Tags: sport, tennis, perth-6000, australia First posted January 02, 2013 22:24:12