Jordan Thompson has set up an all-Aussie showdown with Australia’s No.1 Alex De Minaur in the second round of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, after claiming victory overnight.
The Aussie won his opening round clash with Argentine Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 20 minutes to set up the clash with his fellow countryman. De Minaur was granted a bye through to the second round.
De Minaur holds a 2-1 head to head over Thompson with their last meeting coming back in 2019 on grass in the Netherlands. That match was won by Thompson in three sets, an experience he will look to draw on when the pair face off on the grass in Stuttgart.
James Duckworth was the other Aussie to advance to the second round of the Mercedes Cup with a solid win over seventh seed and World No.36 Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in under an hour. ‘The Duck’ was clutch in the big moments, saving 4/4 breakpoints on serve whilst converting all three breakpoint opportunities on return.
The Sydneysider will face the tall, big serving Sam Querrey in the second round after the American negotiated his way past Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek 6-4, 6-1. The pair have never met in a match before.
Unfortunately Alexei Popyrin couldn’t complete the hattrick of Aussie wins in Stuttgart overnight, falling to the evergreen Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 4-6 in a disappointing result for the World No.63. Popyrin never really got into the swing of things and only ended up creating one opportunity to break the Lopez serve, which he lost. Conversely, Lopez created nine opportunities and won three of them.
Others to advance in Stuttgart overnight were Peter Gojowczyk, Yannik Hanfmann, Jurij Rodionov and Dominik Stephan Stricker.
Moving on to the ATP Challenger in Nottingham now, Matt Ebden has just fallen short in a very tight match with top seed and home crowd favourite Dan Evans. Ebden went down 6-7(6), 6-7(4) in an encounter that could have gone either way. Ebden’s big chance came in the first set tiebreaker where he had three set point opportunities, only to lose four points in a row to concede the first.
Ebden’s fortunes improved later in the day when he teamed up with John-Patrick Smith, getting a first up win in the doubles over Evgeny Donskoy and Kamil Majchrzak 6-4, 7-6(4). The pair saved 8/10 breakpoints while taking all three chances that were given to them to break their opponents serve.
Thanasi Kokkinakis also tasted doubles success with his British partner Jay Clarke, defeating Italian duo Andreas Seppi and Thomas Fabbiano in a nailbiter 7-6(4), 7-6(6). The pair won 88% of points on their first serve to go along with 12 aces for the match. Kokkinakis will face fellow Aussie Matt Reid in his next doubles encounter.
Unfortunately, Max Purcell and his Swiss partner Marc-Andrea Huesler bowed out of the doubles overnight, losing in a match tiebreaker to Maxime Cressy and Andrea Vavassori 6-4, 3-6, 3-10.
Aussie Jason Kubler went down in his second round match at the ATP Challenger in Orlando to American third seed Jenson Brooksby 3-6, 1-6 in an hour and 14 minutes. The Queenslander only landed 60% of his first serves in, which led to him giving up eight breakpoints, losing five of them.
Arina Rodionova was the only female in singles action overnight on the WTA tour, losing in straight sets to China’s Shuai Zhang in the second round of the Viking Open in Nottingham. Rodionova fell to the fourth seed 4-6, 3-6 in an hour and a half.
The Aussie will rue missed chances after she manufactured eight breakpoints on the Zhang serve, only to convert two of them. Conversely, she also gave up eight breakpoints but only managed to save four of them.
Also advancing in the singles was Heather Watson, Lauren Davis, Katie Boulter, Catherine McNally, Kristina Mladenovic and Alison van Uytvanck.
Storm Sanders and her partner Caroline Dolehide advanced to the quarters in the doubles after a straight sets victory over Marie Bouzkova and Alicja Rosolska 7-6(3), 6-4. The pair served at 88% on their first attempt to set up the victory.
It was another frustrating result for Priscilla Hon at the WTA 250 in Croatia after she and doubles partner Jana Fett lost their opening round clash 2-6, 1-6 to top seeds Arantxa Rus and Viktoria Kuzmova.
Over to the ITF Tour now, Destanee Aiava and Olivia Gadecki claimed solid wins in the opening round of the W25 event in Madrid.
Seventh seed Aiava defeated lucky loser from qualifying Cristina Dinu 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 27 minutes. The Melburnian won 70% of points on her first serve which included seven aces for the match.
Olivia Gadecki also defeated a lucky loser, Malene Helgo, in straight sets 6-2, 7-5 to make it to the second round after coming through qualification. Gadecki won 93% of points on her first serve, featuring six aces.
Aiava and Gadecki carried their good form onto the doubles court together, winning through to the semifinals after defeating Spanish pair Alba Carrillo Marin and Celia Cervino Ruiz 6-0, 6-4. Much like their singles matches, the Aussies serving was impeccable, winning 78% of points on their first serve. The pair backed it up with a strong return game, winning 5/9 breakpoints.
Fellow Aussie Ally Osborne and partner Victoria Bosio were eliminated in the quarters, going down 3-6, 3-6 to second seeds Robin Anderson and Isabella Shinkova.
Looking at the men now, Dane Sweeny won his first round matchup in a seesawing encounter against American qualifier Matt Kuhar 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 at the M25 in Wichita, Kansas. Sweeny got the win despite serving 14 double faults. In fact, he won 73% of points on first serve when he got it in.
Fellow Australian Tristan Schoolkate was also in action in Wichita, but unfortunately suffered a straight sets first round defeat to fourth seed Michail Pervolarakis.
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