Australian 27th seed dumped from home Open by in-form Brit Dan Evans in straight sets.
Grand Slam, being dispatched 7-5 7-6(2) 7-6(3) in an enthralling three-hour clash on Friday night.
Tomic has now played nine Australian Opens, having reached the fourth round three times, and admits he needs to adapt his game to go deeper into the draw at Melbourne Park.
“I rely on what's gotten me in the years in this sport. I tend to fall back on that when it's tough times on court,” said Tomic. “I need to be more aggressive, that's for sure. I have the hands and the game to play in this sport. But I need to improve attacking, being on top of the ball.
The third-round encounter promised to be intriguing, as world No.51 Evans had beaten Tomic at the 2013 US Open, however the 27th seed won their last meeting in the 2015 Davis Cup.
Sydney finalist Evans is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance, up at a career-high ranking, and sent seventh seed Marin Cilic crashing out this week. Tomic has progressed to the last 16 at his home Grand Slam the past two years.
The Brit clattered a forehand winner on the very first point to set the tone for his attacking approach on a raucous Hisense Arena.
A series of breaks marked the turbulent beginnings of the match. At 5-5, Evans earned his break in a cat-and-mouse rally running from side to side.
The Aussie No.2 served seven aces and hit 11 winners, but his opponent served out the opener with aplomb.
That momentum stuck with Evans, who immediately broke and nullified Tomic’s threat by covering all angles at the net.
The 26-year-old maintained that advantage until 5-4 and serving for the lead, but Tomic cracked a sublime backhand down the line to ignite his break back. Moments later, it was Evans’ turn to fight from the brink. Tomic’s punchy backhand return winner chalked up a brace of set points.
Evans emphatically dismissed them and lost just two points to sweep through the tiebreak. Tomic had served 76 per cent on first serves, but it was the world No.51 sitting one set away having succeeded with 20 of 27 net approaches.
“I think if I had got one of those points, it's one set all, it's different. Even the third set was high quality. Every game was deuce on both our serves,” added Tomic.
“But the shots that he was playing, he deserved to win this match.”
In similar fashion, the third set was locked on serve until 4-4. The Aussie No.2 had a chance to edge in front, but a blistering forehand winner from Evans cancelled it out.
A brief rain delay only added to the drama, before two sumptuous Evans lobs put him on the cusp of a memorable triumph. Tomic dug deep, stretched every sinew to reach a volley, and a tiebreak was required once again.
At 3-2, Evans the Brit prevailed in a lung-bursting rally to whip a crosscourt winner past Tomic. The home favourite applauded his opponents’ strike and couldn’t quite conjure up a response.
“It was an amazing match to be a part of. He was playing a high level. I was playing solid. I was trying to compete,” Tomic said.
“I have to give full credit to him, he's just on fire.
“That's why he beat a Grand Slam champion last round, Cilic. He's had an amazing year. I just feel today those big points, he came up with amazing tennis. At one stage I was just laughing, it's too good.”
An emotional Evans closed out the contest to become the first British man, not named Andy Murray of course, to reach the Australian Open fourth round since Tim Henman back in 2002.