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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.