Miami, USA, 25 March 2021 | Leigh Rogers

Alexei Popyrin has made a winning start to his Miami Open campaign, scoring a straight-sets victory against Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez.

The 21-year-old Australian recorded a 6-4 7-6(4) win against 39-year-old Lopez in the first round of the ATP 1000 tournament. Popyrin won all three break points he earned in the 82-minute match.

“It was a very difficult match,” Popyrin told ATPTour.com. “Feli is a very tough player. He has an unbelievable serve, so when I had my chances to break I was putting all of my focus on the break points. There was no rhythm in the match, so not many rallies, but I am happy with the way I was mentally. There were a couple of shaky moments here and there, but I hung in to win.”

Popyrin, who is currently ranked No.86, now faces American Reilly Opelka in the second round. It will be his first career meeting against the No.30 seed.

James Duckworth also moved into the second round, winning a three-set battle against German qualifier Mischa Zverev.

The 29-year-old Aussie scored a 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory to set up a second-round showdown with No.8 seed David Goffin. It equals Duckworth’s career-best result in Miami, having also made the second round in 2015.

Storm Sanders scored her first singles win at WTA 1000 level, overcoming Italian qualifier Elisabetta Cocciaretto in three sets.

Sanders served for the match at 6-1 5-3, but then lost four consecutive games to an opponent ranked 89 places higher. However, the 26-year-old Australian wildcard bounced back strongly in the third set to secure victory after one hour and 53 minutes on court.

Australian Open 2021 quarterfinalist Jessica Pegula awaits Sanders in the second round.

Aussies in action – Miami

RESULTS
Men’s singles, first round
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-4 7-6(4)
James Duckworth (AUS) d [Q] Mischa Zverev (GER) 6-2 4-6 6-4

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Storm Sanders (AUS) d [Q] Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) 6-1 5-7 6-1

COMING UP
Men’s singles, first round
Chris O’Connell (AUS) v Joao Sousa (POR)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v Federico Delbonis (ARG)
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v [Q] Shintaro Mochizuki (JPN)

Men’s singles, second round
[15] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v TBC
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [30] Reilly Opelka (USA)
James Duckworth (AUS) v [8] David Goffin (BEL)

Women’s singles, second round
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) v [Q] Kristina Kucova (SVK)
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v [2] Naomi Osaka (JPN)
[WC] Storm Sanders (AUS) v [29] Jessica Pegula (USA)

Men’s doubles, first round
Luke Saville (AUS)/Oliver Marach (AUT) v Kevin Krawietz (GER)/Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)

Women’s doubles, first round
Ellen Perez (AUS)/Zheng Saisai (CHN) v [4] Timea Babos (HUN)/Veronika Kudermetova (RUS)
Ash Barty (AUS)/Jennifer Brady (USA) v Lucie Hradecka (CZE)/Kristyna Pliskova (CZE)
Storm Sanders (AUS)/Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) v Vania King (USA)/Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)
[WC] Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)/Heather Watson (GBR) v Anna Kalinskaya (RUS)/Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK)