Aussies in action: Duckworth, Popyrin score Cologne wins
Two Australians - James Duckworth and Alexei Popyrin - progress to the final qualifying round of an ATP tournament in Cologne.
James Duckworth and Alexei Popyrin have recorded qualifying wins at an ATP tournament in Germany.
Duckworth posted a 6-3 5-7 6-2 win against Germany’s Mischa Zverev.
The No.93-ranked Duckworth now faces Austrian Dennis Novak in the final qualifying round. The No.94-ranked Novak advanced with a hard-fought 7-6(3) 6-7(3) 7-6(3) victory over Australian Max Purcell.
The No.108-ranked Popyrin overcame American J.J. Wolf 6-3 4-6 6-3 and will now play Belarusian Egor Gerasimov for a place in the main draw.
Eighth-seeded Bosnian Damir Dzumhur eliminated Australian Marc Polmans 6-2 6-1.
If Duckworth and Popyrin win their final qualifying matches, they join fellow Aussies John Millman and Jordan Thompson in the main draw.
Aussies in action – Cologne, Germany
Men’s singles qualifying, first round
 James Duckworth (AUS) d [WC] Mischa Zverev (GER) 6-3 5-7 6-2
 Dennis Novak (AUT) d Max Purcell (AUS) 7-6(3) 6-7(3) 7-6(3)
 Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d J.J. Wolf (USA) 6-3 4-6 6-3
 Damir Dzumhur (BIH) d Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-2 6-1
Men’s singles qualifying, final round
 James Duckworth (AUS) v  Dennis Novak (AUT)
 Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v  Egor Gerasimov (BLR)
Alex de Minaur is through to the Ultimate Tennis Showdown final in Antwerp.
Australia’s top-ranked man scored victories against Brit Dan Evans and Spain’s Pablo Andujar to progress to the final of the exhibition tournament in Belgium.
“I definitely didn’t know what to expect. It’s new conditions and a new format so I’m very happy it all went pretty damned well today. I’m very happy, that’s for sure,” De Minaur said.
De Minaur faces France’s Richard Gasquet in the final, a former top-10 player who he defeated during his career-best Grand Slam run at the US Open last month.
The exhibition is a chance for valuable match practice ahead of an ATP tournament in Antwerp next week – where De Minaur and Gasquet will also face-off in the opening round.