Aussie hopefuls earn main-draw spots in Rome
Five Australian men are set to compete in the Rome Masters singles main draw, the most to do so in 24 years.
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alexei Popyrin have completed successful qualifying campaigns at the Rome Masters.
An impressive serving display helped Kokkinakis record a 6-2 6-2 victory against Brit Jan Choinski in final qualifying round action.
The 27-year-old Australian fired eight aces and did not concede serve in the 86-minute encounter.
This improves Kokkinakis’ season record to 21 wins from his 31 matches.
The world No.104 is now set to make his main-draw debut at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament against Spain’s Jaume Munar. This is a rematch of a heated first-round encounter in Madrid two weeks ago, which world No.75 Munar won in two tiebreak sets.
Popyrin also dominated on serve in his 6-0 7-6(3) win against Italian hope Andrea Pellegrino.
The 23-year-old Australian struck 10 aces and lost only 11 points on serve in the 78-minute showdown.
Like Kokkinakis, Popyrin will be making his main-draw debut in Rome. The world No.77 has been pitted against fellow Australian Chris O’Connell in the opening round.
With Alex de Minaur and Jason Kubler also in the main draw, this marks the highest number of Australian men to compete in Rome since 1999.
In women’s qualifying singles action, Priscilla Hon bowed out in the final round.
World No.86 Ysaline Bonaventure recorded a 6-4 6-4 victory against Hon, spoiling her 25th birthday celebrations today.
Aussies in action – Rome
Men’s qualifying singles, final round
 Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d Andrea Pellegrino (ITA) 6-0 7-6(3)
 Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d Jan Choinski (GBR) 6-2 6-2
Women’s qualifying singles, final round
 Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL) d Priscilla Hon (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Men’s singles, first round
 Alex de Minaur v Bye
Chris O’Connell v [Q] Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
Jason Kubler v Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI)
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Jaume Munar (ESP)
Men’s doubles, first round
 Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v [WC] Federico Arnaboldi (ITA)/Gianmarco Ferrari (ITA)
Alex de Minaur (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v Sebastian Baez (ARG)/Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP)
John Peers (AUS)/Nathaniel Lammons (USA) v  Lloyd Glasspool (GBR)/Harri Heliovaara (FIN)
Women’s doubles, first round
 Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)/Alicja Rosolska (POL)
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