Tokyo: Thompson wins, Popyrin falls to Djokovic
Jordan Thompson wins through to the last 16 of the ATP event in Tokyo, while Alexei Popyrin finds world No.1 Novak Djokovic too strong.
Jordan Thompson toughed out a three-set victory on Tuesday in Tokyo to progress to the second round of the ATP Rakuten Open.
The Australian beat Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3 3-6 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with local player Taro Daniel, who upset No.2 seed Borna Coric in a third-set tiebreak.
Thompson’s countryman Alexei Popyrin was unable to join him in the last 16, falling to top seed Novak Djokovic.
Popyrin, who won two matches to qualify for the main draw, was playing the 16-time Grand Slam champion for the first time, and fought hard before going down 6-4 6-2.
The world No.94 was unable to generate a break point on the impenetrable serve of Djokovic, who won 84 per cent of his first-serve points.
Djokovic goes on to face Japan’s Go Soeda for a place in the quarterfinals.
Thompson, after dropping the second set, rebounded strongly to build a 5-1 lead in the final stanza.
Although Argentina’s Londero closed the gap a little, Thompson was eventually able to close out victory in just under two hours.
He will be aiming for his sixth ATP quarterfinal of 2019 when he takes on Daniel on Thursday.
Fellow Aussies Alex de Minaur and John Millman will play their first-round matches on Wednesday in Tokyo.
De Minaur, who arrived in Japan after winning his third ATP title of the season in Zhuhai at the weekend, plays Lloyd Harris of South Africa.
Millman, who also came through qualifying to reach the main draw, battles Adrian Mannarino – De Minaur’s victim in that Zhuhai final.