Purcell, Vukic score biggest wins in Toronto
Max Purcell upstaged 10th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime under lights in Toronto after Aleksandar Vukic stunned 14th seed Borna Coric. They join Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis in round two.
It was a terrific Tuesday for Australia in Toronto, with Max Purcell, Aleksandar Vukic and Alex de Minaur beating seeds to progress to the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Purcell upstaged No.10 seed and home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime in a Centre Court night match, the 6-4 6-4 scoreline earning him the biggest victory of his career.
The 25-year-old qualifier has now won his past two matches against Auger-Aliassime, also winning their clash at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Arriving in Canada on a six-match losing streak, Purcell has rediscovered form and will next face former world No.1 Andy Murray.
“I think it’s a little bit of the unknown; these top guys haven’t played me much, so they don’t really know too many of my patterns yet,” Purcell explained.
"He'll probably smoke me" 💨
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 9, 2023
“And I guess I’ve got a little bit nothing to lose out here as well. But in saying that, I still trust that my level is good enough to play with these big guys.”
Earlier, Vukic also beat the highest-ranked opponent of his career thanks to his upset of Coric, outplaying the world No.15 6-2 6-3 for his first win over a top-20 opponent.
His previous best win by ranking came against world No.31 Yoshihito Nishioka, which he achieved on route to his first ATP final in Atlanta two weeks ago.
The win over Coric continues a rich vein of form for the 27-year-old Aussie, who has won six of his past nine hard-court matches and boosted his ranking to a career-high No.62.
5 – With victory over Borna Coric, Atlanta finalist Aleksandar Vukic is only the fifth lucky loser to defeat an opponent in the ATP's top 20 at the Canadian Open, since the ATP rankings were introduced in 1973. #NBO23 | @NBOtoronto @atptour @ATPMediaInfo pic.twitter.com/q6TJTk9uLW
— OptaAce (@OptaAce) August 8, 2023
Vukic lost in the final round of qualifying in Toronto, but earned a place in the main draw as a lucky loser after Grigor Dimitrov withdrew. He next faces American Sebastian Korda for a place in the last 16.
Also advancing on Tuesday was De Minaur, who beat 11th seed Cameron Norrie 7-5 6-4.
It might appear an upset on paper, but this was a match between top-20 players; De Minaur is the highest-ranked unseeded player in the Toronto draw.
Since mid June, De Minaur has won 11 of his past 15 matches and reached two ATP finals, including last week in Los Cabos.
He next faces Canadian wildcard Gabriel Diallo, who stunned Washington DC champion Dan Evans for his first tour-level win.
De Minaur, Vukic and Purcell join countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round.
Aussies in action – Toronto
Men’s singles, first round
Alex de Minaur (AUS) d  Cameron Norrie (GBR) 7-5 6-4
[LL] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) d  Borna Coric (CRO) 6-2 6-3
[Q] Max Purcell (AUS) d  Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-4 6-4
Men’s singles, second round
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d  Lorenzo Musetti (ITA)
[LL] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v Sebastian Korda (USA)
Alex de Minaur (AUS) v [WC] Gabriel Diallo (CAN)
[Q] Max Purcell (AUS) d Andy Murray (GBR)
Men’s doubles, first round
John Peers (AUS)/Marcelo Melo (BRA) v Sander Gille (BEL)/Joran Vliegen (BEL)
Men’s doubles second round
Max Purcell (AUS)/Andrey Rublev v Nathaniel Lammons (USA)/Jackson Withrow (USA)
 Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Jamie Murray (GBR)/Michael Venus (NZL)
Over in Montreal, Kimberly Birrell found former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki too tough on Tuesday.
Wozniacki, in the first match of her comeback after retiring at Australian Open 2020, beat the Australian qualifier 6-2 6-2.
Birrell has won two matches to take her place in the main draw, but could not match the relentless consistency of Wozniacki, who sets up a second-round meeting with Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.
Birrell’s countrywomen Storm Hunter and Ellen Perez will continue flying the Australian flag in the doubles draw.
Aussies in action – Montreal
Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-2 6-2
Women’s doubles, first round
 Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v bye
 Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v bye
Women’s doubles, second round
 Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Marta Kostyuk (UKR)/Zhang Shuai (CHN)
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