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Posted By Alex Johnstone  
10:32 AM

It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours for Aussie Max Purcell who was announced last night as the replacement for Alex de Minaur in the Australian Olympic Team. The Aussie No. 1 was forced to withdraw due to COVID-19 and we wish him a speedy recovery. 

Before he boards a plane, Purcell has to contest the final of the ATP Challenger in Kazakhstan after he won his semifinal matchup yesterday. The Aussie made his way past Canadian Peter Polansky 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3) in a thrilling match that lasted two and a half hours. 

Amazingly, Purcell fought back from two breaks of serve in a row to stay alive in the final set and force it to a tiebreaker. The Aussie lost his serve to go down 4-5 and then again at 5-6 before breaking back straight away on both occasions. He heads into the final against Brit Jay Clarke with a record of eight wins in his past 10 singles matches as well as a flashy plane ticket to Tokyo. 

In other news, Jordan Thompson has fallen agonisingly short of just his second ever ATP Tour final after succumbing to rising American talent Jenson Brooksby. 

Thompson was outdone by the 20-year-old 3-6, 6-7(3) in a tick over two hours in what was a disappointing outing for the World No. 71. He had a chance to level the match at a set-all but couldn’t seem to close it out after being up 5-2 in the second. Strangely enough, he never held a set point. 

The Aussie has been in outstanding form since his round one exit from the French Open, winning nine out of his previous 14 matches before being toppled by Brooksby earlier this morning. It’s clear that Thompson enjoys the grass, making the loss all the more frustrating considering Brooksby debuted on the surface only a few days ago. Alas, Thompson had a very good tournament and should take plenty out of it. 

Over on the WTA Tour, Storm Sanders was looking to qualify for her fifth combined (WTA/ITF) doubles final of her career at the Prague Open. Unfortunately for her and partner Asia Muhammad, they were ousted by locals Lucie Hradecka and Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 4-6 in an hour and 17 minutes. 

On the ITF Tour, Olivia Gadecki and partner Rebeka Masarova have been crowned doubles champions at the W60K in Spain. The pair waltzed past fourth seeds Celia Cervino Ruiz and Olivia Nicholls 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 13 minutes to claim the title. The win sees Gadecki pick up her fourth ITF doubles title for 2021 whilst moving to a 25/8 record for the year. 

Elsewhere, Rinky Hijikata is through to the second ITF final of his career after toppling Jeremy Beale in the All-Aussie semifinal showdown. 

The 6-2, 6-2 win takes Hijikata to a 9-3 singles record since he rejoined the tour back in June. A win against Frenchman Valentin Vacherot in the final will see him lift his second ITF trophy after first achieving the feat in Arizona back in 2019. 

It was a rough day for Beale, who not only lost his singles match but was also defeated in the final of the doubles in a match tiebreak. He was denied a second ITF singles final for the year and later was denied what would have been his fifth doubles title since mid May. In the end, Beale and partner Ajeet Rai fell to Arthur Bouquier and Santiago Rodriguez Taverna 7-5, 4-6, 7-10 in an hour and a half. 

Beale’s former doubles partner Thomas Fancutt, has lifted yet another trophy, this time at the ITF M25K in Portugal. Fancutt and Brit Evan Hoyt won the doubles final at Idanha-a-Nova against Takuto Niki and Kaito Uesugi 6-3, 6-2 in just under an hour. The Aussie claimed his sixth doubles title for the year and boasts an incredible 23/1 record for 2021. 

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