Melbourne, Australia, 15 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Alexei Popyrin’s draw at Australian Open 2024 has been far from kind.

The 24-year-old faced fellow Aussie Marc Polmans, a friend and former doubles partner, in the opening round.

After posting a 6-3 7-6(3) 6-2 victory in their all-Australian battle at John Cain Arena today, Popyrin is now set to face world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

Popyrin has played the 10-time Australian Open champion just once before, at an ATP tournament at Tokyo in 2019.

“I’m looking forward to playing him,” Popyrin said.

“I’ve watched (Novak) play since I was a kid … I last played him when I was 19. I’ve improved since then, so we’ll see what I can bring.”

Popyrin gained valuable momentum from his first-round win against world No.154 Polmans.

The world No.43 fired 56 winners to 22 and did not lose a service game across the two-hour and 28-minute encounter.

This effort helps snap a four-match losing streak at Grand Slam level for Australia’s No.2-ranked man.

“It’s never easy playing a fellow Aussie, especially a friend like Marcy,” Popyrin said.

“We played doubles here last year and he played a hell of a match today. It was really difficult in some moments for me and if he continues at this level, he’ll break the top 100 soon.”

Earlier today, Storm Hunter became the first Aussie woman to progress to the second round at Australian Open 2024.

The 29-year-old described her first-round triumph as “a dream come true”.

> BUY NOW: Australian Open 2024 tickets

Aussies in action – Australian Open

Men’s singles, first round
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Milos Raonic (CAN) 6-7(6) 6-3 2-0 ret.
Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
 d [WC] Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-3 7-6(3) 6-2
Jordan Thompson (AUS) Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 3-6 7-6(3) 6-2 3-6 6-4
[9] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) d [Q] Omar Jasika (AUS) 7-6(4) 6-4 6-2
[24] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) d Rinky Hijikata (AUS) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-7(2) 7-6(8)
Luca Van Assche (FRA) d [WC] James Duckworth (AUS) 6-7(2) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-3

Women’s singles, first round
[Q] Storm Hunter (AUS) d Sara Errani (ITA) 6-4 6-3
[19] Elina Svitolina (UKR) d [WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) 6-2 6-2
Magdalena Frech (POL) d [WC] Daria Saville (AUS) 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5

Men’s singles, first round
Max Purcell (AUS) v [Q] Mate Valkusz (HUN)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Sebastian Ofner (AUT)
[WC] James McCabe (AUS) v Alex Michelsen (USA)

Men’s singles, second round
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Matteo Arnaldi (ITA)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
 v [1] Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [7] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Chris O’Connell (AUS) 
v [16] Ben Shelton (USA)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 men’s singles draw

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) v [11] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS) v Sloane Stephens (USA)
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v Petra Martic (CRO)

Women’s singles, second round
[Q] Storm Hunter (AUS) v Laura Siegemund (GER)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 women’s singles draw

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