Aussie ratings: New guard steals spotlight
IT'S been a rollercoaster ride for Australians at the Open.
Some have exceeded all expectations and had a breakout tournament while others fell way short.
Forgetting the drama off the court, we run the rule over how each Australian in the main singles draw performed.
Alex de Minaur - 7.5
The great hope of the Australian men briefly lived up to that billing with a gutsy five-set second round victory over crafty Swiss veteran Henri Laaksonen, which earned him plenty of new fans and put the 19-year-old on a collision course with Rafael Nadal. Sadly, he became the Spanish great's third Australian victim. But reaching the third round, as he's done previously at both the US Open and Wimbledon, was another small step in de Minaur's growing career and is projected to deliver a best-ever ranking of 28th in the world.
Alexei Popyrin - 9
Along with de Minaur, the teenage wildcard has announced himself as the brightest prospect in the next generation of Australian youngsters - stunning seventh seed Dominic Thiem in the second round before falling in a gruelling five-setter to semi-finalist Lucas Pouille. Boasting a monster serve and powerful forehand, the French Open junior champion is projected to rise 25 places to a career-best 124th in the world. Has earned a Davis Cup start and is locked in to be a fan favourite at Melbourne Park for years to come.
Alex Bolt - 8
What a brilliant tournament for the late-blooming 26-year-old, who had never tasted victory at a grand slam before. Two years ago the likeable Bolt was building fences with his brother and playing park footy - stepping away from a game he said gave him no joy. He certainly seemed to enjoy it when he produced stirring upsets of America's Jack Sock and Frenchman Gilles Simon. Another who will take a huge jump up the rankings to a career-best 129. The $155k payday is a life-changer for Bolt, who should set his sights on cracking the top 100 in 2019.
John Millman - 6.5
The people's champion, Millman couldn't repeat his US Open heroics but still gave fans a hell of a ride with a pulsating five-set defeat to 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Coming from two sets down, Millman sent the Melbourne Arena crowd into a frenzy as he saved four match points in the fourth set tie-break before wilting in the decider. Expectations continue to rise for the affable, but he thrives on the big stage
Nick Kyrgios - 3
Looked underdone and outclassed against a ruthless Milos Raonic in the first round. Now faces a further ranking slump and a tough road back to the seeded comforts he's become accustomed to. Tricky first round clashes like Raonic could be the norm in this year's slams. Could be a rough 12 months for the extraordinarily talented Kyrgios, with the same old questions emerging from the greats of the game. Rod Laver wants to know if he is mentally tough enough. John McInroe has again queried his dedication to training and fitness, and seemingly everyone wants to know when he'll bring a coach into his inner circle. Maybe Andy Murray could be the answer on that front.
Bernard Tomic - 4
Lost in straight sets, but was far from disgraced against sixth seed Marin Cilic - pushing the Croatian to a tie-break in the third set. It was always going to be a rough first-up assignment and that proved to be the case. Tomic then injected himself into the headlines for the duration of the Australian Open by detonating in his post-match press conference in a rant against Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt which threatened to divide Australian tennis. Needs to save his best performances for the tennis court, not in front of microphones.
Thanasi Kokkinakis - 4
Fought his way through qualifying, after being overlooked for a wildcard, to reach the main draw for a fourth time. But sadly his campaign hit a familiar roadblock as Kokkinakis' body failed him in his clash with Japan's Taro Daniel and he was forced to retire when up a set. He said he'd never played in so much pain. The talented 22-year-old has endured a horror injury run and needs a change in luck to make 2019 a winner.
Jordan Thompson - 5.5
Entered the Australian in good form after claiming his first top 50 scalp in more than 12 months at the Sydney International, where he defeated Adrian Mannarino. Still couldn't break through for a first-ever third round appearance in a grand slam, as he was thoroughly dispatched by Italian veteran Andreas Seppi.
Jason Kubler - 4
From having 14c in his bank account to his first appearance in the Australian Open main draw in eight years - whatever happened to Kubler this week should be considered a great triumph. He took a set from Italian journeyman Thomas Fabbiano but that was the extent of his Australian Open success this year. The $75,000 pay check for a round one exit will look nice in Kubler's bank account, which is already in far better shape than it was in 2017.
Marc Polmans - 4
The 21-year-old surged up the rankings in 2018 on the back of a stunning run of 19 wins from 20 matches on the Challenger tour which delivered two titles. But the Melbourne local's luck ran out as he blew a two-sets-to-love lead against Denis Kudla in the first round.
James Duckworth - 6
The wildcard drew the horror first-round matchup of Spanish giant Rafael Nadal and became the first of three Australians to fall at his hand. Incredibly, he's the only player to have broken Nadal this tournament - and he did it twice.
Matt Ebden - 6
Came from a set down to advance in the first round, before being outclassed - but far from disgraced - against second seed Rafael Nadal. The third-highest ranked Australian male is playing the best tennis of his career.
Sam Stosur: - 3
The Aussie's lamentable singles record at Melbourne Park continued with a first-round loss to rising Ukrainian star Dayana Yastremska. It's Stosur's fourth straight first-round defeat made all the worse by the fact she collapsed from an encouraging position and failed to capitalise on opportunity.
Ash Barty - 9
What a tournament for the Newcombe Medallist particularly coming off the back of her run in Sydney. Clinical early wins and a huge effort to come back against Maria Sharapova. Barty carried the expectation of a nation incredibly well before being toppled by an outstanding Petra Kvitova. The best run she has had in a grand slam and the best Aussie women's single performance in a decade.
Daria Gavrilova - 2
Lack of confidence plagued her 2018 season and this would have done nothing to ease that. Her worst result at the Aus Open since 2015. Having twice made the last 16 Gavrilova's game was riddled with sloppy errors and she was comprehensively beaten by Tamara Zidansek. She now finds herself outside the world's top 40 for the first time since 2016.
Ajla Tomljanovic - 6
A big opening round against Johanna Konta was always a daunting task for Tomljanovic who is only recently back on court having undergone shoulder surgery. And this went to the wire. She came out firing and caused no end of trouble for the one-time semi-finalist. Plenty of fight and a lot of power in her game. 2019 should be a great season if she's injury free.
Astra Sharma (Q) - 7.5
Remember this name because we will be reading it a lot in years to come. This was her first ever singles major and definitely won't be her last. Having slashed her WTA ranking by more than 700 spots to come in to Melbourne at 232, she is set for another big climb. Powerful serve and booming grounds strokes. A great athlete.
Zoe Hives (WC) - 7
Played really impressive tennis against Bethanie Mattek Sands to progress through round one and the Aussie grand slam rookie pushed Caroline Garcia all the way before exiting the tournament.
Kimberley Birrell (WC) - 8
Off the back of a strong 2018, this was a terrific story for all Australian sport fans this fortnight with the 21 year-old enjoying her break out grand slam. A straight forward opener was followed by an incredible fight back against 29th seed Donna Vekic before the dream was ended by former world No 1 Angelique Kerber who endorsed the young talent as a champion of the future. A huge projected jump in rankings from 285 to 159.
Destanee Aiava (WC) - 5
Two years in a row the young Aussie has been handed a tough opening round. Last year she fell to Simona Halep, this year her campaign was ended in just 71 minutes by Madison Keys. First priority for the Aussie needs to be sorting her head after revealing she was struggling for motivation, feels isolated and that life on tour "was pretty shit".
Pricilla Hon (WC) - 6
Always tough to play against your compatriot in the first round and sadly for Priscilla Astra Sharma's gain was her loss. The challenge was made all the worse by the sweltering conditions which led to Hon requiring medical assistance. She saw the positives, the money setting her up to have a coach for the year.
Ellen Perez (WC) - 5
A dream come true quickly became a 53-minute nightmare for the Australian who struggled to make an impact against the world No 65 Yafan Wang.