Purcell powers to victory in all-Aussie battle at Roland Garros
Australian Max Purcell has defeated compatriot Jordan Thompson in opening-round singles action in Paris.
Max Purcell has emerged triumphant in the first all-Australian men’s singles opening-round showdown at Roland Garros in 22 years.
Purcell prevailed 7-5 1-6 6-4 6-4 against fellow Aussie, and occasional doubles partner, Jordan Thompson in Paris today.
It is 25-year-old Purcell’s maiden Grand Slam main-draw singles win and his first top-100 victory on clay.
These major milestones continue a breakout season for Purcell, who has skyrocketed from outside the world’s top 200 in February to his current ranking of world No.68.
He has contested six finals on the ATP Challenger Tour in the past four months, winning three of them, and his season record now stands at 39 wins from 49 matches.
This was his second career victory against 29-year-old Thompson, who also hails from Sydney.
“I’m pretty proud of the effort, happy I got my first main-draw win,” Purcell told AAP after the match.
“But it would have been nice if it had been against someone who’s not Jordan.”
Purcell and Thompson memorably teamed up in doubles last year to help Australia reach a first Davis Cup final in 19 years. They also won an ATP 250 doubles title together in Houston last month.
|Max Purcell v Jordan Thompson
|2017||Vancouver, Canada||Hard||2R||Thompson won 6-1 6-3|
|2019||Anning, China||Clay||1R||Thompson won 6-3 6-4|
|2021||Winston-Salem, USA||Hard||2R||Purcell won 7-5 6-4|
|2023||Gwangju, South Korea||Hard||Final||Thompson won 6-3 6-2|
|2023||Roland Garros, France||Clay||1R||Purcell won 7-5 1-6 6-4 6-4|
Purcell started their latest encounter strongly, before world No.76 Thompson fought back to level at one set apiece.
At times, Purcell appeared hampered by an ankle injury he sustained in an ATP Challenger final in South Korea earlier this month.
But after taking a medical timeout at the end of the second set, Purcell manage to wrest back control of the match and close out victory in two hours and 51 minutes.
“I felt a bit bad because I was a bit injured. I think that was kind of in his mind too,” Purcell admitted.
Purcell fired 49 winners to Thompson’s 29. His aggressive play, as well as ability to add variety, led to Thompson growing increasingly frustrated as the match progressed.
“I was lucky the way it (his injury) forced me to play – it was really the only way I was going to beat him, and I was lucky I could pull it off,” Purcell said.
Purcell becomes the fourth Australian man to advance to the second round at this year’s Roland Garros, joining Alex de Minaur, Jason Kubler and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
This is the most Aussie men to reach this stage at the tournament since 2000.
Purcell will now face No.27 seed Yoshihito Nishioka in the second round. The 27-year-old from Japan survived a five-set opening-round challenge from American J.J. Wolf.
Aussies in action – Roland Garros
Men’s singles, first round
Max Purcell (AUS) d Jordan Thompson (AUS) 7-5 1-6 6-4 6-4
Men’s singles, second round
 Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG)
Max Purcell (AUS) v  Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN)
Jason Kubler (AUS) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
Women’s singles, second round
[Q] Storm Hunter (AUS) v Elina Svitolina (UKR)
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