Adelaide, Australia, 6 January 2023 | Vivienne Christie

Alexei Popyrin has forced a thrilling decider in the quarterfinals of the Adelaide International, saving two match points against Yoshihito Nishikoka, before the Japanese  player recovered to book a semifinal.

Nishioka, ranked world No.37 compared to No.120 Popyrin, required two hours and 46 minutes to claim a 7-6 6-7(8) 6-2 win. And while Popyrin will almost certainly reflect on lost opportunities, he’ll also consider his significant progress just one week into the new season.

Gaining main draw entry as a qualifier, Popyrin claimed four straight match wins in the South Australian capital – including over No.2 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, currently ranked 114 places higher – in the first round.

There was also a three-set win over the higher-ranked Marcos Giron as Popyrin progressed to a third ATP-level quarterfinal, and his first since 2021.

Popyrin has relied on his big serve as he rebuilds form and confidence after a challenging 2022 season, the 23-year-old firing 27 aces against the world No.36 from Japan.

Raising his aggression, Popyrin relied on that weapon as he saved two match points in the 12th game of the second set. There were also some stinging forehands as the Australian prevailed, on his fourth set point, in the tiebreak.

The experienced 27-year-old ultimately proved too sturdy, gaining a double break of serve  to reassert authority with a 5-2 lead.

Popyrin’s challenges intensified as he received medical treatment for apparent breathing difficulties, Nishioka serving out victory on resumption. He faces the winner of the Jannik Sinner and Sebastian Korda quarterfinal next.

Day six action at the  Adelaide International 1 tournament ended on a high note for local supporters as Storm Hunter and her Czech partner Katerina Siniakova defeated all-Czech pairing Miriam Kolodziejova and Marketa Vondrousova to progress to the final.

The top seeds at the WTA 500 tournament, Hunter and Siniakova required an hour and 12 minutes to claim their 6-4 1-6 [10-6] victory. They’ll face all-American pair Asia Muhammed and Taylor Townsend for a chance to claim a first title for season 2023.

The Adelaide International, a combined ATP 250 and WTA 500 event, is part of a two-week Adelaide Festival of Tennis. The festival includes back-to-back tournaments and concludes on 14 January.

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Men’s singles, quarterfinals
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) d [Q] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 7-6(4) 6-7(8) 6-2

Women’s doubles, semifinals
[1] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Katerina Siniakova (CZE) d Miriam Kolodziejova(CZE)/Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)

Women’s doubles, final
[1] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Katerina Siniakova (CZE) v [6] Asia Muhammad (USA)/Taylor Townsend (USA)

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