Tokyo: Popyrin to face Djokovic in first round
Qualifier Alexei Popyrin is one of four Australians in the main draw of the ATP tournament in Tokyo -- but he faces the toughest of first-round assignments.
Australian Alexei Popyrin’s reward after qualifying for the main draw in Tokyo is a first-round meeting with world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
Popyrin reached the main draw at the ATP 500 event with a 6-3 7-6(0) win over countryman James Duckworth, helped by 11 aces and a first-serve winning percentage of 86.
Yet he now comes up against top-seeded Djokovic, who is playing for the first time since retiring from his fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka at the US Open due to a left shoulder injury.
Popyrin joins fellow Aussies Alex de Minaur, Jordan Thompson and John Millman in the main draw in Tokyo.
Millman also came through qualifying, securing his place earlier on Sunday with a 7-6(5) 6-1 win over Japan’s Tatsuma Ito after saving two match points in his first-round qualifying win over Bradley Klahn.
Millman, who has won seven of his past eight matches, faces Adrian Mannarino in round one.
Mannarino will on Sunday play in the ATP Zhuhai final against De Minaur, who is the eighth seed in Tokyo and who takes on South Africa’s Lloyd Harris first up.
Should De Minaur win, he plays either Millman or Mannarino for a place in the quarterfinals.
Thompson has also landed in the bottom quarter of the draw with De Minaur and Millman, and takes on Juan Ignacio Londero in the first round.