Umag, Croatia, 29 July 2023 | Matt Trollope

Umag, Croatia

Alexei Popyrin will play for his second career ATP title, and first in two-and-a-half years, when he tackles three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in the Umag final.

Popyrin advanced to the title match following a marathon 6-7(2) 7-5 6-3 triumph over Matteo Arnaldi, a battle lasting three hours and 16 minutes.

Arnaldi became the first player this week to take a set off Popyrin, who has now won 14 of his 20 clay-court matches in 2023.

The 23-year-old Aussie, currently ranked 90th, has improved to No.73 in the ATP live rankings.

It marks his first ATP final since he went all the way to the title in Singapore in February 2021.

Sunday’s final in Umag will be his first meeting with Wawrinka.

Aussies in action – Umag

Men’s singles, semifinals
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d [7] Matteo Arnaldi (ITA) 6-7(2) 7-5 6-3

Men’s singles, final
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [6] Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

Atlanta, USA

Aleksandar Vukic’s breakthrough week has continued in Atlanta, with the 27-year-old overcoming Ugo Humbert in three sets under lights on Saturday.

In his first ATP semifinal, Vukic recovered from the loss of the first set to beat the Frenchman 3-6 7-6(2) 7-5.

Vukic has now won 13 of the 17 three-set matches he has played in 2023, and sealed this particular victory with a forehand winner.

He has beaten three consecutive top-40 players – Yoshihito Nishioka, Christopher Eubanks, and Humbert – to achieve a career-best result.

His previous best performances at ATP level were quarterfinals in Adelaide and Sofia in 2022.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Vukic said. “I don’t know what’s going on right now. I barely slept last night, so I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. Honestly, pretty lost for words.”

Vukic, projected to rise to the cusp of the top 60, sets a final showdown against No.1 seed Taylor Fritz, who beat fellow American JJ Wolf earlier on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a tough match,” Vukic said.

“I just need to serve well and return well, and play like I did in the second and third set (tonight), and I think anything’s possible… I’ve got nothing to lose.”

Meanwhile, in a doubles semifinal featuring three Aussies, Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson overcame John Peers and his Brazilian partner Marcelo Melo to reach their second ATP final as a team in 2023.

Purcell and Thompson beat third seeds Peers and Melo 7-6(4) 6-3 to improve to 10-2 this season; earlier this week they beat No.1 seeds Jamie Murray and Michael Venus.

They will aim to add the ATP Atlanta title to the trophy they won together in Houston in April.

Aussies in action – Atlanta

Men’s singles, semifinals
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) d [7] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 3-6 7-6(2) 7-5

Men’s doubles, semifinals
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS)
d John Peers (AUS)/Marcelo Melo (BRA) 7-6(4) 6-3

Men’s singles, final
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v [1] Taylor Fritz (USA)

Men’s doubles, final
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS)

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