Indian Wells, United States, 8 March 2024 | Matt Trollope

Aleksandar Vukic overcame a gritty opponent in Shintaro Mochizuki to progress to the second round at Indian Wells.

In a match full of momentum swings, Vukic eventually subdued the Japanese qualifier 7-6(4) 7-6(6) to set up a meeting with world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

It will be Vukic’s first meeting with the 24-time Grand Slam champion, who after a first-round bye will play his first match at Indian Wells since 2019.

Unfortunately, fellow Australians Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell bowed out after losing their opening matches in straight sets later on Friday (Melbourne time).

Already through to the last 64 were Thanasi Kokkinakis and Christopher O’Connell, who won their first-round matches the previous day.

> READ MORE: O’Connell beats Draper, Kokkinakis advances at Indian Wells

> VIEW: Indian Wells 2024 men’s singles draw

> WATCH: See our TV Guide for how to follow the Indian Wells action

Vukic stormed to a 5-2 lead in the first set, only for Mochizuki to close the gap and build a 3-0 lead in the subsequent tiebreak.

Vukic responded by winning six points in a row to wrest back control.

But he was forced to claw back another deficit in the second set, after Mochizuki established leads of 4-1 and 5-2.

Vukic, seeking just his second singles win of 2024, forced another tiebreak, and there recovered from 3-5 down to seal an important victory.

The 27-year-old Aussie, who peaked at world No.48 last year, returns to the second round in the Californian desert after reaching the same stage in 2021.

In women’s doubles, new world No.8 Ellen Perez continued her impressive momentum alongside American partner Nicole Melichar-Martinez.

The No.4 seeds, champions in San Diego last week, won their fifth match in a row by beating Czechs Linda Noskova and Marketa Vondrousova in a match tiebreak.

They have won eight of their past nine matches after also appearing in the WTA 1000 final in Dubai.

Their opponents in the last 16 are yet to be determined.

Aussies in action – Indian Wells


Men’s singles, first round
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) d [Q] Shintaro Mochizuki (JPN) 7-6(4) 7-6(6)
Gael Monfils (FRA) d Max Purcell (AUS) 6-1 6-2
[Q] Shang Juncheng (CHN) d Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-2 6-3

Women’s doubles, first round
[4] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) d Linda Noskova (CZE)/Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-0 4-6 [10-5]


Men’s singles, second round
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 
v Taro Daniel (JPN)
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v [1] Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v [3] Jannik Sinner (ITA)
Christopher O’Connell (AUS)
v [6] Alexander Zverev (GER)

Men’s doubles, first round
[1] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Sander Gille (BEL)/Joran Vliegen (BEL)
Alex de Minaur (AUS)/Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [3] Rajeev Ram (USA)/Joe Salisbury (GBR)
Max Purcell (AUS)/Nicolas Jarry (CHI) v Marcelo Arevalo (ESA)/Mate Pavic (CRO)

Women’s doubles, first round
[3] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Katerina Siniakova (CZE) v [WC] Ashlyn Krueger (USA)/Sloane Stephens (USA)

Women’s doubles, second round
[4] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v TBD

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