Popyrin powers into Paris semifinals
Alexei Popyrin becomes first Australian to reach French Open boys' semifinals in seven years.
Alexei Popyrin has become the first Australian to reach the French Open boys’ singles semifinals in seven years.
The 17-year-old Sydney talent powered into the final four with a hard-fought 4-6 6-1 7-5 victory over American Gianni Ross in the quarterfinals last night.
Popyrin, the tournament’s third seed, hit five aces and won 77 per cent of first serve points in the one hour, 47 minute battle.
But compatriot Blake Ellis’ tournament is over, crashing out 6-0 6-3 to 11th-seeded Spaniard Nicola Kuhn.
Popyrin and Ellis rewrote history with their quarterfinal runs, the first time two Australian boys had advanced to the final eight in Paris in more than a decade.
James Duckworth was the last Australian to reach the boys’ singles semifinals in 2010, with Greg Jones the last finalist in 2007.
No Australian has won the boys’ singles title since Phil Dent in 1968.
Popyrin now faces Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the semifinals tonight, as he aims to end Australia’s 49-year title drought.
Davidovich Fokina, an 18-year-old ranked No.28, and Popyrin regularly play doubles together, including this week in Paris where they lost in the first round.
The Spaniard won their only previous singles meeting in straight-sets at an Italian clay tournament last year.
Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua are also chasing history when they take to the court in women’s doubles semifinal action tonight.
Should the duo beat Czechs Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova, the sixth seeds, they will become the first all-Australian team to reach all four Grand Slam finals in half a century.