Popyrin leads Aussie charge in Rome qualifying
Alexei Popyrin is one of three Australian hopes to advance to the final qualifying round in Rome.
Three Australian players – Alexei Popyrin, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Priscilla Hon – have advanced to the final qualifying round in Rome.
Popyrin, the top seed in the men’s qualifying singles draw, needed two hours and 32 minutes to battle past Italian hope Riccardo Bonadio in the opening round.
The 23-year-old Australian eventually edged out a 6-4 4-6 6-3 victory.
Kokkinakis had less trouble in his clash with Italian wildcard Matteo Gigante, not conceding serve in a 7-5 6-3 win.
The Aussie pair need to win one more qualifying match to join compatriots Alex de Minaur, Jason Kubler and Chris O’Connell in the main draw at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
In women’s qualifying singles action, Hon scored a three-set victory against Brit Harriet Dart.
The 24-year-old Australian, who is competing in Rome for the first time, fought back from a slow start to triumph 1-6 6-2 6-2.
Hon is aiming to qualify at a WTA 1000 tournament for the third time in her career – and for the first time since Doha in 2020.
Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki and Jaimee Fourlis all lost their opening-round matches.
Aussies in action – Rome
Men’s qualifying singles, first round
 Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d Riccardo Bonadio (ITA) 6-4 4-6 6-3
 Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d [WC] Matteo Gigante (ITA) 7-5 6-3
Women’s qualifying singles, first round
Priscilla Hon (AUS) d  Harriet Dart (GBR) 1-6 6-2 6-2
 Rebeka Masarova (ESP) d Olivia Gadecki (AUS) 6-1 6-3
 Tereza Martincova (CZE) d Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) 7-6(4) 7-6(5)
Sara Bejlek (CZE) d  Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-1 6-2
Men’s qualifying singles, final round
 Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v Andrea Pellegrino (ITA)
 Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Jan Choinski (GBR)
Women’s qualifying singles, final round
Priscilla Hon (AUS) v  Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL)
Men’s singles, first round
 Alex de Minaur v Bye
Chris O’Connell v Qualifier
Jason Kubler v Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI)
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