Bernard Tomic of Australia hits a backhand.
Bernard Tomic of Australia hits a backhand. TANNEN MAURY

Tomic slumps to another first-round defeat

BERNARD Tomic's 2017 campaign has taken yet another hit after the Australian crashed out of Indian Wells in the first round against world No.112 Bjorn Fratangelo.

Little over a week ago, the Australian retired from his opening match at the Mexican Open in Acapulco citing "unbearable heat", and while he managed to complete the match in California, his performance has been described as "not his most effortful".

The 6-2 6-2 defeat marks the fourth consecutive tournament that Tomic has fallen at the first hurdle and leaves him winless since the Australian Open in January, when he reached the third round.

Tomic's commitment to tennis is likely to again come under scrutiny as he won fewer than a quarter of points on his second serve. He was broken twice in both sets as wildcard Fratangelo sent down seven aces to Tomic's one.

Tomic, whose ranking has already fallen from a career-high 17 to 42, now looks set for another slide that will ultimately lose him the protection of being seeded at the French Open in May.

He is due to contest the doubles tournament alongside 14-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal on Saturday (AEST).

Meanwhile, in the women's draw, there will be no all-Australian match-up in round two after Ajla Tomljanovic fell to Julia Goerges in the first round.

A 7-5 6-2 victory for the German sets up a second round clash with Sam Stosur.