Rome, Italy, 16 September 2020 | Leigh Rogers

John Millman has made a winning start at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome.

The No.43-ranked Australian advanced to the second round with a 7-5 7-6(2) victory against Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Millman next plays eighth-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

The 31-year-old from Brisbane is the last Aussie man standing in the singles draw after Alex de Minaur’s exit last night.

German qualifier Dominik Koepfer recorded a 3-6 6-3 7-6(5) win against the No.27-ranked Australian in the opening round.

The transition from hard courts to clay proved difficult for De Minaur, who landed only 51 per cent of his first serves in the loss.

De Minaur started strongly to build a 6-3 3-0 lead, but the world No.97 then reeled off six consecutive games to take the second set.

The 21-year-old Australian earned a match point at 5-4 in the third set, but was unable to capitalise. Koepfer went on to seal victory in a deciding tiebreak after two hours and 33 minutes on court.

De Minaur’s day did not get any better, also losing his opening round doubles match. Top-seeded Colombians and two-time defending champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah scored a 6-2 6-3 win against De Minaur and his Spanish partner Pablo Carreno Busta.

John Peers and New Zealand’s Michael Venus fared better in doubles action, moving into the second round with a 6-3 7-5 win against British combination Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski.

Aussie results:

Men’s singles, first round
John Millman (AUS) d [LL] Joao Sousa (POR) 7-5 7-6(2)
[Q] Dominik Koepfer (GER) d Alex de Minaur (AUS) 3-6 6-3 7-6(5)

Men’s doubles, first round
[1] Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL)/Robert Farah (COL) d Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)/Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-2 6-3
John Peers (AUS)/Michael Venus (NZL) d Jamie Murray (GBR)/Neal Skupski (GBR) 6-3 7-5

In action tonight:

Women’s doubles, first round
Ellen Perez (AUS)/Storm Sanders (AUS) v Lucie Hradecka (CZE)/Andreja Klepac (SLO)
Asia Muhammad (USA)/Arina Rodionova (AUS) v Sharon Fichman (CAN)/Vera Zvonareva (RUS)

Men’s doubles, first round
Max Purcell (AUS)/Luke Saville (AUS) v [7] Raven Klaasen (RSA)/Oliver Marach (AUT)