Hijikata scores biggest career win at Shanghai Masters
Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata records his first top-50 singles win to reach the second round at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament in China.
Rinky Hijikata has recorded another impressive result in his breakout season.
The 22-year-old Australian posted his first top-50 win in the opening round of the Shanghai Masters, beating world No.36 Laslo Djere.
Hijikata had lost all of his eight previous meetings against a top-50 opponent, but his rapid improvement was on show today against the 28-year-old Serbian.
World No.75 Hijikata, who earned his place in the draw as a qualifier, edged out a 7-6(4) 7-5 victory in a two-hour and 17-minute battle against the more experienced Djere.
Hijikata’s growing self-belief was evident when he failed to serve out the match in the 10th game of the second set.
Although he squandered three match points, Hijikata bounced back strongly to immediately snare another break. From there, Hijikata served out the biggest win (ranking wise) of his career.
“It got a little bit tricky towards the end there and it was tough conditions today, but I’m pretty happy to be able to get through,” Hijikata told tennis.com.au.
This propels into Hijikata into a second-round showdown with fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Aleksandar Vukic, who is enjoying a career-best season of his own, is also through to the second round.
The 27-year-old Australian recorded a 6-4 7-6(7) first-round victory against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.
Vukic fired 35 winners to 14 in the two-hour and 14-minute clash, setting up a second-round meeting with 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
It wasn’t all good news for Australians contenders, with Alexei Popyrin, Chris O’Connell, Jordan Thompson and Philip Sekulic ousted in the opening round.
AUSSIES IN ACTION – Shanghai
Men’s singles, first round
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) d Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-4 7-6(7)
[Q] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) d Laslo Djere (SRB) 7-6(4) 7-5
Matteo Arnaldi (ITA) d Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Botic van de Zandschulp (NED) d Chris O’Connell (AUS) 6-2 6-7(2) 6-4
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) d [Q] Philip Sekulic (AUS) 6-3 6-2
[Q] Terence Atmane (FRA) d Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3 3-6 6-1
Men’s singles, second round
 Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Fabian Marozsan (HUN)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v  Hubert Hurkacz (POL)
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v  Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
[Q] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v  Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
[Q] Dane Sweeny (AUS) v  Sebastian Baez (ARG)
Men’s doubles, first round
 Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Matwe Middelkoop (NED)/Andrea Mies (GER)
Alex de Minaur (AUS)/Max Purcell (AUS) v  Ivan Dodig (CRO)/Austin Krajicek (USA)
Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Cameron Norrie (GBR) v Hubert Hurkacz (POL)/Ben Shelton (USA)
John Peers (AUS)/Nikola Mektic (CRO) v Kevin Krawietz (GER)/Tim Puetz (GER)
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