Houston, USA, 4 April 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Houston, USA

Jason Kubler has made a strong start to his campaign this week at an ATP 250 tournament in Houston.

The sixth-seeded Australian posted a 7-6(7) 6-0 opening-round victory against Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco at the clay-court event.

Verdasco is a former world No.7 and was the tournament’s champion in 2014, but world No.71 Kubler proved too strong today.

“I remember when I was 14 and back in Brisbane, where I live, and hitting with him (Verdasco) back then,” Kubler said. “It was a bit of a dream to play him today.”

Kubler took control after an opening-set battle, which saw him recover from an early 2-4 deficit.

“It was a very tight first set,” Kubler said after closing out victory in one hour and 39 minutes. “He served for the first set so it really could have gone either way.”

Although Kubler has enjoyed clay-court success at ITF Futures and ATP Challenger level previously, this is only his third career tour-level main-draw victory on clay.


Qualifier Aleksandar Vukic’s winning run came to an end, with American Denis Kudla edging out a 6-4 4-6 6-4 victory in their first-round clash.

Aussies in action – Houston

Men’s singles, first round
[6] Jason Kubler (AUS) d [WC] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 7-6(7) 6-0
Denis Kudla (USA) d [Q] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 6-4 4-6 6-4

Men’s singles, first round
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [5] J.J. Wolf (USA)
Max Purcell (AUS) v Daniel Altmaier (GER)

Men’s singles, second round
[6] Jason Kubler (AUS) v Daniel Elahi Galan (COL)

Men’s doubles, first round
[1] Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v [WC] William Blumberg (USA)/Christian Harrison (USA)
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [WC] Hunter Reese (USA)/Reese Stalder (USA)

Marrakech, Morocco

Alexei Popyrin has made a winning start to his clay-court season, powering past Moroccan wildcard Younes Lalami Laaroussi in the opening round at an ATP 250 tournament in Marrakech.

The 23-year-old Australian scored a 6-3 6-2 victory in 71 minutes. This sets up a second-round meeting with second seed Dan Evans.

Aussies in action – Marrakech

Men’s singles, first round
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d [WC] Younes Lalami Laaroussi (MOR) 6-3 6-2

Men’s singles, first round
Chris O’Connell (AUS) v [Q] Riccardo Bonadio (ITA)

Men’s singles, second round
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [2] Dan Evans (GBR)

Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!