Harry Bourchier's return to competitive tennis has resulted in an encouraging 7-6 6-4 loss to world No. 146 Alex Bolt.
Competing in the Melbourne edition of Tennis Australia's universal tennis rating (UTR) pro tennis series with official ranking tournaments suspended indefinitely, the Tasmanian 24-year-old gave it to the hard-hitting left-hander.
Standing toe-to-toe with his opponent for the first set, Bourchier survived a minor scare in the eighth game before a tiebreak was forced, which saw Bolt charge home with four consecutive points to seal the deal.
Bolt's run of impressive play would continue into the second set, instantly breaking Bourchier to set up a 2-0 lead as he looked to stamp his authority on the clash.
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The Tasmanian fought hard to claw his way back into the match-up but couldn't get through the defences of the 2020 Launceston International runner-up despite having two break-point opportunities to level it up at 3-all.
He was able to give himself two more chances at leveling it up two games later, but once again, Bourchier proved unsuccessful in doing so, unable to convert any of his nine chances of breaking Bolt's serve in the almost two-hour contest.
Even though he tasted defeat, the Tasmanian was statistically stronger on the opening shot, winning 65 per cent of points compared to Bolt's 62, while also securing the longest consecutive streak of winning points, reeling off nine in a row.
Despite only a three-year age difference between the two, the pair have scarcely battled each other in ATP tournaments, facing off in doubles contests back in 2016 and 2017, where Bolt and his partners got the better of Bourchier and his.
Bourchier, who last competed at the Geelong International, making the quarter-finals before the tournament was brought to a halt, will now play Dayne Kelly and Luke Saville over the coming days, with Saville winning the group's other match-up 6-4 4-6 10-8.
The UTR system is set to be in use in upcoming tournaments around Tasmania, with the Tennis World July classic to be held on July 17-18.
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