Alexei Popyrin SHOCKS Taylor Fritz at the Australian Open

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Alexei Popyrin SHOCKS American hotshot Taylor Fritz as Sydney-born underdog defeats No 8 seed in five-set thriller to reach the third round of the Australian Open

  • Alexei Popyrin delivered another huge shock at this year’s Australian Open 
  • The Sydney-born tennis player knocked out No 8 seed Taylor Fritz in five sets 
  • The pair played out a thrilling match which Popyrin took 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 

Local wildcard Alexei Popyrin has claimed a massive scalp, knocking out world No.9 Taylor Fritz to advance to the Australian Open third round for a third time.

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Popyrin’s new-found fitness paid huge dividends as he backed up less than 48 hours after a five-set marathon to produce another stirring 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 win on Thursday.

The 23-year-old hammered 19 aces and dropped serve only once in a thrilling and gruelling four-hour, two-minute test of ptwoical and mental will against the in-form eighth seed.

Alexei Popyrin delivered a huge shock at the Australian Open after knocking out Taylor Fritz

Popyrin, who entered the tournament on a wild card, won a five-set thriller on Thursday

Popyrin, who entered the tournament on a wild card, won a five-set thriller on Thursday

A hero of Team USA’s season-opening United Cup triumph in Sydney, Fritz hurt his right ankle late in the third set and complained about crowd noise during the fourth as the match slipped away.

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Popyrin, meanwhile, rode the energy of the crowd at John Cain Arena and served brilliantly to snare his most impressive win yet at Melbourne Park.

The 23-year-old previously advanced to the last 32 in 2019, when seventh seed Dominic Thiem retired hurt, and again in 2020.

American hotshot Fritz is the latest of a swathe of stars to be eliminated early on

American hotshot Fritz is the latest of a swathe of stars to be eliminated early on

Also a winner at the Indian Wells Masters 1000 last year, Fritz grabbed at his lower right leg late in the third set and called a medical timeout after Popyrin won it to storm to a two-sets-to-one lead.

Popyrin regrouped after failing to convert a match point in the fourth-set breaker to break Fritz for a third time, then a fourth, and claim the biggest win of his career.

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Popyrin will take on another American, world No.89 Ben Shelton, in the third round with a golden opportunity to reach the second week of a grand slam for the first time.

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