Cincinnati, USA, 16 August 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Alexei Popyrin has taken advantage of a lucky-loser spot at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati.

The 24-year-old Australian lost a three-set battle against compatriot Max Purcell in the final qualifying round, but was elevated into the main draw when world No.11 Karen Khachanov withdrew with injury.

Popyrin returned to the winner’s circle today with a 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4 opening-round victory against world No.52 Daniel Altmaier, a 24-year-old German who also entered the draw as a lucky loser.

It is world No.58 Popyrin’s first main-draw win at the Cincinnati Masters.

Popyrin’s good fortune has continued, moving directly into the third round.

His second-round opponent, Chile’s Nicolas Jarry, has withdrawn from the tournament due to the impending arrival of his second child.

Max Purcell also scored his career-first main-draw victory in Cincinnati, beating South Africa’s Lloyd Harris 6-4 6-4.

The 25-year-old Purcell proved steely under pressure, saving all five break points he faced in the 74-minute encounter.

Thanasi Kokkinakis was equally impressive on serve, saving all eight break points he faced in a three-hour and eight-minute battle against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

It wasn’t enough to stop Hurkacz however, with the world No.20 edging out a 7-6(2) 3-6 7-6(1) victory.

Heartbreakingly, this is the second time this season that world No.78 Kokkinakis has lost against Hurkacz in a third-set tiebreak at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

Alex de Minaur was pushed to three sets in his opening-round clash with American J.J. Wolf, but finished strongly to triumph 6-0 3-6 6-1.

World No.12 De Minaur struck seven aces in the one-hour and 58-minute encounter, helping him record his 11th win from his past 14 matches.

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz ended the winning run of Australian qualifier Jordan Thompson in the second round, prevailing 7-5 4-6 6-3 in a late-night clash.

A gallant Thompson won 102 points, only eight less than world No.1 Alcaraz, in the three-hour and two-minute battle.

Aussies in action – Cincinnati

Men’s singles, first round
Alex de Minaur (AUS) d J.J. Wolf (USA) 6-0 3-6 6-1
[Q] Max Purcell (AUS)
d Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-4 6-4
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d [LL] Daniel Altmaier (GER) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4
Hubert Hurkacz (POL) d [Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 7-6(2) 3-6 7-6(1)

Men’s singles, second round
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d Nicolas Jarry (CHI) walkover
[1] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) d [Q] Jordan Thompson (AUS) 7-5 4-6 6-3

Men’s singles, second round
Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Gael Monfils (FRA)
[Q] Max Purcell (AUS) v [5] Casper Ruud (NOR)

Men’s singles, third round
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v TBC

Men’s doubles, first round
Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v Hubert Hurkacz (POL)/Mate Pavic (CRO) 6-5 to finish
Max Purcell (AUS)/Andrey Rublev v Lloyd Glasspool (GBR)/Harri Heliovaara (FIN) 7-6(10) 2-1 to finish

Men’s doubles, second round
[4] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v [WC] Christopher Eubanks (USA)/Ben Shelton (USA)
John Peers (AUS)/Nikola Mektic (CRO) v TBC

Women’s doubles, second round
[2] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)/Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
[3] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Tereza Mihalikova (CZE)/Xu Yifan (CHN)

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