Dubai, United Arrab Emirates, 23 February 2022 | Vivienne Christie

Dubai, UAE

Alexei Popyrin has capitalised superbly on a last-minute opportunity to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, progressing to the second round with a 6-2 6-3 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.

After exiting in the final round of qualifying, the Australian entered the main draw into the ATP 500 tournament as a lucky loser.

Popyrin took 59 minutes to overcome Basilashvili, who at world No.19 is ranked considerably higher than the No.66 Australian.

With valuable efficiency, Popyrin served five aces, not a single double fault and saved all break points that he faced against the experienced 30-year-old.

It sets up a meeting with Ricardas Berankis, a qualifier at the lucrative tournament.

Alex de Minaur had a tougher day in Dubai, suffering a three-sets loss to Karen Khachanov.

Earlier in Dubai, Australian qualifier Chris O’Connell pushed Andy Murray in a determined display before exiting to the former Grand Slam champion in three sets.

Aussies in action – Dubai 

Men’s singles, first round
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-2 6-3
Karen Khachanov (RUS) d Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-3 6-7(1) 7-5
[WC] Andy Murray (GBR) d [Q] Chris O’Connell (AUS) 6-7(4 6-3  7-5

Men’s doubles, first round
[3] John Peers (AUS)/Filip Polasek (SLO) d [WC] Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND)/Saketh Myneni (IND) 7-5 7-5

Men’s singles, second round
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [Q] Ricardas Berankis (LTU)

Men’s doubles, quarterfinals
[3] John Peers (AUS)/Filip Polasek (SLO) v Hubert Hurkacz (POL)/Jannik Sinner (ITA)