Alexei Popyrin has become the latest Australian player to spring a first-round upset at the Australian Open, with the wildcard entrant sending 13th seed David Goffin home early.
The 21-year-old saved four match points to prevail in a five set thriller, toppling the highly-regarded Belgian star 3-6 6-4 6-7(4-7) 7-6(8-6) 6-3 in a brutal match which ran for just over four hours.
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Things got off to an inauspicious start for Popyrin, who had his serve broken in the first game of the match.
But after dropping the first set, Popyrin fired back convincingly in the second and Goffin soon had a fight on his hands.
There were several moments where it appeared as though a valiant effort from Popyrin wouldn’t be enough to topple the world No.15 - but backed by a vocal band of supporters on Court 3, Popyrin began to fight back after falling behind two sets to one.
Popyrin was first able to shake off a quad complaint which needed to be treated briefly when he was down 5-3 in the fourth set.
Yet he found a way to come back, staving off two match points to force a tiebreaker, where he once again fought off two more match points to win the set and square the ledger at two sets each.
Goffin won the first two games of the fifth set before being broken by Popyrin, who seized the momentum to claim a gutsy victory.
What about this from Alexei Popyrin. Knocks out the 13th seed, David Goffin after saving four match points! How good! 🇦🇺 #AusOpen2021
— brad davidson (@braddavo) February 9, 2021
Alexei Popyrin gets the win over David Goffin and tennis gets another reminder of how much better this sport is with fans.
Heck of an atmosphere as the Aussie’s carry their man over the line. #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/hxlwj8c8cy
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) February 9, 2021
ASTONISHING 😱🔥@AlexeiPopyrin99 saves four match points to defeat 13th seed David Goffin 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(6), 6-3 in an absolute thriller on Show Court 3. Unbelievable atmosphere at the #AusOpen 💥💪👏#GoAussies pic.twitter.com/igyjXhcyMc
— Jedd Zetzer (@JeddZetzer) February 9, 2021
The crowd erupted when Popyrin eventually prevailed, with the 21-year-old enjoying undoubtedly one of the best victories of his fledgling career.
The 2017 French Open junior champion has reached the third round of the Australian Open for the last two years, and will benefit from facing an unseeded opponent in the second round.
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Australia's other winner early on day two was fellow wildcard Chris O'Connell, who upset German world No.37 Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.
But fellow Australian Aleksandar Vukic went down 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 to Russian No.19 seed Karen Khachanov.
Women's wildcard Astra Sharma blew a golden chance to advance to the second round.
The 25-year-old dominated the opening stages of her round-one clash with Nao Hibino and looked on track for a comfortable win.
But the Japanese baseliner was able to reverse the momentum, going on to win 2-6 6-3 7-5 in one hour and 57 minutes.
Maddison Inglis took the fight up to defending champion Sofia Kenin in Tuesday's opening match on Rod Laver Arena before bowing out 7-5 6-4.
There were 14 Australians scheduled for singles action on day two at Melbourne Park.
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