Aussie quartet surge into ATP third round

Melissa Woods and Darren Walton
·2-min read

Alexei Popyrin, Alex Bolt, James Duckworth and Jordan Thompson have led a stacked local contingent into the third round of the Melbourne Summer Series.

Bolt wrestled to a three-set win over Mackenzie McDonald to book a showdown with top-seeded former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, while Popyrin accounted for another American in Tommy Paul , 6-4 6-3.

Duckworth scored a rousing 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 upset win over seventh seed Ugo Humbert before Thompson joined the party with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over another Frenchman in Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

With 13 Australian men in action on Wednesday at Melbourne Park, hopes were high the local representation in the last 16 of the two events would further swell.

But Jason Kubler fell 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 to Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis while Aleksandar Vukic was beaten 6-2 6-4 by Italian Jannik Sinner.

South Australian Bolt, who has a wildcard into next week's Australian Open, overcame world No.194 McDonald 6-4 6-7 (9-7) 7-5.

Bolt is a proven summer performer, taking last year's finalist Dominic Thiem to five sets in the second round of the Open and gets another opportunity to claim a big scalp against Wawrinka, a 4-6 6-3 6-1 winner over Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.

"Stan, he's a great of the game. He's won slams, he's one of the best players in the world right now," Bolt said of Switzerland's three-time grand-slam winner.

"I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to be able to play again."

Popyrin saved six match points in his opening contest of the Murray River Open against Borna Gojo but had a much easier time against Paul.

He swept the world No.53 in straight sets to line up a meeting with Bulgarian second seed Grigor Dimitrov.

"I played really solid from all aspects of my game," Popyrin said.

"I served really well, I was able to hit my forehand as well as I hoped. My backhand was really solid and I was playing an aggressive game."

While Nick Kyrgios had an unexpectedly tough time in finishing off fellow Australian Harry Bourchier 6-2 7-6 (9-7) there wasn't any later joy for the local contingent with Matthew Ebden, Christopher O'Connell, Max Purcell, Dane Sweeny and Andrew Harris all losing.