Bendigo, VIC, 13 January 2020 | Asher Packman

Teenage Queenslander Alexander Crnokrak has claimed the biggest scalp of his fledgling career, defeating Frenchman Hugo Gaston, the No.9 seed, at the Bendigo Challenger on Monday.

The 19-year-old took out the match against the world No.246 in straight sets, 6-4 7-6(2), and now awaits the winner of recent Australian Open wildcard recipient Christopher O’Connell and Italian Liam Caruana in a maiden third round encounter.

“It was a definitely a tough match,” Crnokrak said. “He’s the highest-ranked player I’ve ever beaten, but I’ve played a few matches at ATP Challenger level now, and I’m getting more confidence.

“Even when I’ve lost, I’ve felt like I’m getting closer.”

Elsewhere on Monday, fellow Queenslanders Dane Sweeny and Calum Puttergill were both successful, defeating American Alec Adamson 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 and Estonian No.15 seed Marco Arevalo 6-4 6-2 respectively.

American Steve Johnson, the No.4 seed and world No. 84, was pushed to three sets by Greek Markos Kalovelonis, while second seed Roberto Carbaelles Baena eased past local Victorian Jai Corbett 6-0 6-4.

Top seed Marton Fucsovics of Hungary will open his account on Tuesday, playing Italian Andrea Vavassori. Sweeny will again be in action when he takes on Bosnian No.5 seed Damir Dzumhur – a former world No.23 – along with compatriots O’Connell and Dayne Kelly, who plays Italian Stefano Travaglia, the third seed.

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