Purcell, Hijikata score opening-round wins at Winston-Salem
Australians Max Purcell and Rinky Hijikata are through to the men's singles second round at an ATP 250 tournament in Winston-Salem.
Max Purcell has made a promising start to his singles campaign at an ATP 250 tournament in Winston-Salem.
Contesting his first match as a top 50-ranked player, Purcell powered past Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-1 in the opening round.
The 25-year-old Australian conceded only nine points on serve in the 68-minute encounter.
The in-form Purcell has now won nine of his past 11 matches. The world No.47’s impressive run includes two top-20 victories and a maiden appearance in an ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal.
Purcell is now set to meet 16th seed Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round.
Rinky Hijikata is also through to the second round, after overcoming Ukrainian qualifier Illya Marchenko in three sets.
World No.111 Hijikata fought back from a 4-6 0-2 deficit, winning 12 of the next 15 games to record a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory.
This is Hijikata’s seventh ATP main-draw singles win of the season and propels the 22-year-old into a second-round showdown with the tournament’s top seed, world No.29 Borna Coric.
Purcell and Hijikata join compatriot Aleksandar Vukic in the second round. The ninth-seeded Vukic received a first-round bye.
Aussies in action – Winston-Salem
Men’s singles, first round
Max Purcell (AUS) d Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-4 6-1
Rinky Hijikata (AUS) d [Q] Illya Marchenko (UKR) 4-6 6-3 6-2
Men’s singles, second round
 Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v Luca Van Assche (FRA)
Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v  Borna Coric (CRO)
Max Purcell (AUS) v  Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN)
Men’s doubles, first round
Max Purcell (AUS)/Sebastian Ofner (AUT) v Gonzalo Escobar (ECU)/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)
Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v Romain Arneodo (MON)/Ariel Behar (URU)
[WC] Matt Ebden (AUS)/John-Patrick Smith (AUS) v Sadio Doumbia (FRA)/Fabien Reboul (FRA)
Ellen Perez and American partner Nicole Melichar-Martinez are the defending doubles champions at a WTA 250 tournament in Cleveland this week.
The in-form duo, who were finalists in Cincinnati last week, are the No.2 seeds and begin their title defence against Belarusian Lidziya Marozava and Brazil’s Ingrid Martins.
Aussies in action – Cleveland
Women’s doubles, first round
 Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Lidziya Marozava/Ingrid Martins (BRA)
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