Aussies bow out in Indian Wells second round
Alex de Minaur is one of four Australian players to exit in the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament at Indian Wells.
A day following Jordan Thompson’s upset victory over No.2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas at Indian Wells, his fellow Australians experienced difficult second-round contests at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
Alex de Minaur, Alexei Popyrin, Rinky Hijikata and Thanasi Kokkinakis each exited on day four of the prestigious tournament, with Australian hopes now sitting with Thompson and Jason Kubler, who each play third-round matches tomorrow.
De Minaur was unable to replicate the form that saw him claim the seventh and biggest title of his career at Acapulco, Mexico, last weekend, the Australian No.1 falling to Marton Fucsovics in the second round
As the No.16 seed, De Minaur was granted a first-round bye at Indian Wells but was unable to find his rhythm against the 84th-ranked Hungarian, who recorded a 6-4 6-2 win in 87 minutes.
Popyrin and Hijikata also experienced straight-sets exits as they faced seeded opponents in the Californian desert.
For Popyrin, a tough assignment against No.9 seed Hubert Hurkacz ended with the Pole claiming a 6-3 6-3 victory. Qualifier Hijikata, making his debut at Indian Wells, was defeated 6-3 6-1 by Argentine Sebastian Baez, the tournament’s No.30 seed.
Kokkinakis also encountered a challenging opponent as he faced tournament top seed Carlos Alcaraz in the second night match on centre court.
There were few opportunities for Kokkinakis to gain an opening as Alcaraz – who became the youngest man in ATP history to hold the world No.1 ranking late last season – took a 6-3 lead.
Electrifying from the outset, the 19-year-old Spaniard lost only a single point on his serve in the 33-minute first set. And while Kokkinakis was more competitive as he extended the second set to 44 minutes, he was unable to halt the Alcaraz charge.
Australian attention will now turn to Thompson’s third-round battle with Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo, with the Sydneysider aiming to maintain the form that saw him claim the second top-10 victory of his career over Tsitsipas on Friday.
Kubler, who progressed when Grigor Dimitrov retired with injury in the third set of their second-round contest, faces No.14 seed Frances Tiafoe.
Aussies in action – Indian Wells
Men’s singles, second round
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) d  Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-4 6-2
 Hubert Hurkacz (POL) d [LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-3 6-3
 Sebastian Baez (ARG) d [Q] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) 6-3 6-1
 Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) d [Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-3 6-3
Men’s singles, third round
Jason Kubler (AUS) v  Frances Tiafoe (USA)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [Q] Alejandro Tabilo (CHI)
Women’s doubles, first round
 Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Paula Badosa (ESP)/Elena Rybakina (KAZ)
Women’s doubles, second round
 Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v TBC
Men’s doubles, second round
John Peers (AUS)/Dan Evans (GBR) v Jamie Murray (GBR)/Michael Venus (NZL)
Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)/Hubert Hurkacz (POL)
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