New York - With his father banned from the US Open and memories burning of an early surrender in a second-round exit last year, Australia's Bernard Tomic ground out a five-set victory on Monday.
Tomic, the Aussie number one at 52nd in the world, rallied to outlast Spain's 75th-ranked Albert Ramos 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 and said he felt he had proven a point with a courageous fightback.
One year after headlines dubbed him "Tomic the Tank Engine" after he lamely withered through the final games of a second-round loss to Andy Roddick, the German-born 20-year-old was on his game, not going home.
"To turn any match around like this where I think I was probably one or two points away from being out of the tournament, being able to turn that around and find something inside to win this match, was very good for me, and I take that as confidence into my next round," Tomic said.
Tomic will next face 179th-ranked British qualifier Daniel Evans, who upset Japanese 11th seed Kei Nishikori in the first day of play on the Flushing Meadows hard-courts.
Tomic's father and coach, John Tomic, has been banned from ATP and Grand Slam events after being accused of assaulting Thomas Drouet, who had been his son's hitting partner, in Madrid on May 4.
It's a charge the elder Tomic has denied and the matter remains before a Spanish court, although Tomic ripped the ATP for rushing to judgment in the case after winning his first match at Wimbledon.
"I'm managing now," Tomic said. "It's still difficult, but what can I do? I'm trying to play as best as I can. The main thing now for me is just to keep improving. Every day I want to improve. I want to get better. That's where my mindset is at."
That, Tomic says, means becoming more independent of his father.
"I'm not looking where my dad is," Tomic said. "Of course my dad is still on my side with me and that's an important thing, but I'm trying to find myself deep down inside and become the best player I can be.
"Each day is a new stepping-stone for later in my career. I approach days differently now, so it's good."
With fitness coach Ivan Dimitrijevic in the player's box, Tomic has somewhere to turn when times get tough as they did against Ramos.
"Felt very good to come back from that match," Tomic said. "He should have got the better of me, but I found something in the end to turn it around.
"Sometimes you don't need to play really well to win. You just need to do the right thing."
US Open results on Monday at Flushing Meadows (x denotes seeded player):
Richard Gasquet (FRA x8) bt Michael Russell (USA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Stephane Robert (FRA) bt Albano Olivetti (FRA) 6-3, 6-3, 6-4
Guillaume Rufin (FRA) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 6-1
Dmitry Tursunov (RUS x32) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
Feliciano Lopez (ESP x23) bt Florent Serra (FRA) 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-3, 6-3
Bradley Klahn (USA) bt Kenny De Schepper (FRA) 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/4)
Dudi Sela (ISR) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 5-7, 6-4
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB x18) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 - retired
Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) bt Ernests Gulbis (LAT x30) 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) bt Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), 7-5
Roberto Bautista (ESP) bt Thomaz Belluci (BRA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
David Ferrer (ESP x4) bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 7-5, 6-3, 6-2
Tommy Robredo (ESP x19) bt Marinko Matosevic (AUS) 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-2
Frank Dancevic (CAN) bt Robin Haase (NED) 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3)
Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Albert Ramos (ESP) 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3
Daniel Evans (GBR) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x11) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Ivan Dodig (CRO) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP x27) 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) bt Rhyne Williams (USA) 6-3, 4-6, 1-6, 7-5, 6-0
Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Ryan Harrison (USA) 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-0, 6-1
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) bt Monica Niculescu (ROM) 6-4, 6-3
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) bt Olga Puchkova (RUS) 6-1, 6-0
Patricia Mayr (AUT) bt Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK x29) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3
Jamie Hampton (USA x23) bt Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-4, 6-2
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 6-1, 1-6, 6-1
Urszula Radwanska (POL) bt Irina Begu (ROM) 6-1, 6-3
Sloane Stephens (USA x15) bt Mandy Minella (LUX) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Venus Williams (USA) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL x12) 6-1, 6-2
Zheng Jie (CHN) bt Kiki Bertens (NED) 6-1, 6-3
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) bt Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x18) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 6-0, 6-0
Kaia Kanepi (EST x25) bt Vania King (USA) 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) bt Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (7/4)
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Angelique Kerber (GER x8) bt Lucie Hradeck (CZE) 6-1, 6-1
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x3) bt Silvia Soler Espinosa (ESP) 6-1, 6-2
Maria Teresa Torro Flor (ESP) bt Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-0, 6-4
Ashleigh Barty (AUS) bt Estrella Cabeza (ESP) 6-1, 6-4
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x32) bt Virginie Razzano (FRA) 7-5, 6-0
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x24) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-2, 6-4
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) bt Mathilde Johansson (FRA) 6-3, 6-1
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) bt Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) 6-3, 7-6 (9/7)
Sabine Lisicki (GER x16) bt Vera Dushevina (RUS) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)
Jelena Jankovic (SRB x9) bt Madison Keys (USA) 6-3, 6-4
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) bt Mnica Puig (PUR) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
Kurumi Nara (JPN) bt Alexandra Cadantu (ROM) 6-2, 6-2
Sorana Cirstea (ROM x19) bt Sharon Fichman (CAN) 7-5, 5-7, 6-1
Laura Robson (GBR x30) bt Lourdes Domnguez (ESP) 7-5, 6-0
Caroline Garcia (FRA) bt Shelby Rogers (USA) 6-3, 6-2
Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) bt Petra Cetkovsk (CZE) 1-6, 6-4, 6-1
Li Na (CHN x5) bt Olga Govortsova (BLR) 6-2, 6-2