Popyrin survives Serbia Open cliffhanger

·1-min read

Alexei Popyrin has saved match points, fighting back back from a set and a break down, to advance to the round of 16 at the Serbia Open.

The Australian faced a first-round exit when qualifier Francisco Cerundolo held match points in the 10th and 12th games and tiebreaker in the third set before closing out a remarkable 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) victory.

But somehow the 21-year-old maintained his resolve to win the final three points of the two hour and 35 minute match.

His next opponent at the ATP 250 level clay-court event will be Italian qualifier Gianluca Mager, who accounted for ninth-seeded Serb Laslo Djere in straight sets.

Popyrin, who is ranked a career-high 79th and won his first main-tour title earlier this year, dropped the first set after being broken in the ninth game and fell behind immediately in set two.

However, he broke back to level at 2-2 and after seven mini-breaks in the second-set tiebreaker the match was all square.

Popyrin lost the first 13 points of the deciding set and later faced match points on serve at 5-4 and 6-5 down and another at 6-5 down in the tiebreaker but found a way to progress.