Moscow, Russia, 19 October 2021 | Leigh Rogers

Moscow, Russia

Australian players John Millman, James Duckworth and Ajla Tomljanovic have all advanced to the second round at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Millman won a three-set battle against rising Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, eventually prevailing 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3.

It is Millman’s ninth three-set victory of the season and the steely competitor’s fifth consecutive win in a three-set match.

The 32-year-old Australian now plays either fifth seed Alexander Bublik or qualifier Illya Marchenko in the second round of the ATP 250 tournament.

Duckworth continued his impressive form too, but was forced to dig deep to overcome Croatian qualifier Borna Gojo.

The 29-year-old Australian, who currently sits at a career-high ranking of world No.52 after winning 12 of his past 15 matches, served 13 aces in a 3-6 7-5 6-2 victory.

Duckworth’s reward is a second-round meeting with local favourite and No.3 seed Karen Khachanov.

Tomljanovic proved too steady for Russian hope Liudmila Samsonova in their first-round clash, scoring a 6-2 6-4 victory.

It propels the No.43-ranked Australian into a second-round showdown with Aryna Sabalenka at the WTA 500 tournament. The world No.2, who received a first-round bye, is returning to tour after testing positive to COVID-19 earlier this month.

Aussies in action – Moscow

Men’s singles, first round
John Millman (AUS) d Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3
James Duckworth (AUS) d [Q] Borna Gojo (CRO) 3-6 7-5 6-2

Women’s singles, first round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 6-2 6-4

Women’s doubles, first round
[3] Marie Bouzkova (CZE)/Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d Arina Rodionova (AUS)/Anna Danilina (KAZ) 6-1 6-1

Men’s singles, second round
John Millman (AUS) v TBC
James Duckworth (AUS) v [3] Karen Khachanov (RUS)

Women’s singles, second round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v [1] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

Men’s doubles, first round
[3] Luke Saville (AUS)/John-Patrick Smith (AUS) v Karen Khachanov (RUS)/Andrey Rublev (RUS)

Antwerp, Belgium

Alexei Popyrin has lost his opening-round match at the European Open.

Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands scored a 6-4 3-6 6-0 victory against the 22-year-old Australian in their clash at the ATP 250 tournament.

Van de Zandschulp, a recent US Open quarterfinalist and world No.62, served eight aces and conceded only 16 points on his service games in the 96-minute match.

Popyrin’s loss leaves Alex de Minaur and Jordan Thompson as the last remaining Australian hopes in the singles draw. They both play their first-round matches tomorrow.

Aussies in action – Antwerp

Men’s singles, first round
Botic van de Zandschulp (NED) d Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-4 3-6 6-0

Men’s singles, first round
[6] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v [Q] Brandon Nakashima (USA)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP)

Men’s doubles, first round
Matt Reid (AUS)/Romain Arneodo (MON) v [WC] Lloyd Harris (RSA)/Xavier Malisse (BEL)