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Popyrin powers past world No.6 Rublev at Monte Carlo Masters

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin scores a stunning 45-year first at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Monaco.

Monte Carlo, Monaco, 10 April 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Alexei Popyrin has scored one of the biggest wins of his career at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo.

The 24-year-old Australian upset world No.6 and defending champion Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 in second-round action at the clay-court event.

“(I’m) happy to beat a guy who was in form, confident and the defending champ. It was an awesome match,” Popyrin said.

This effort sees Popyrin become the first Australian in 45 years to score a top-10 singles win in Monte Carlo, with the last to do so being John Alexander in 1979.

It is Popyrin’s sixth career top-10 victory and his first in 11 months.

“He is probably the best player from the baseline when you give him rhythm, so I tried to change the pace, height and spin and I think it worked really well for me today,” Popyrin said.

The world No.46’s spectacular victory propels him into the third round, where he’ll face fellow Aussie Alex de Minaur.

De Minaur, the tournament’s 11th seed, advanced with a hard-fought 2-6 6-2 6-3 against world No.26 Tallon Griekspoor.

It is the second top-30 clay-court win of De Minaur’s career.

This also marks the furthest both Popyrin and De Minaur have ever progressed at the tournament.

They are the first Australians to reach the third round at Monte Carlo since Lleyton Hewitt and Wayne Arthurs in 2004, while the winner of their third-round showdown will become the first Australian to progress to a singles quarterfinal at the tournament since Mark Philippoussis in 1999.

Popyrin won his most recent meeting with De Minaur, at the Paris Masters in 2021, to level their head-to-head record at one apiece.

Aussies in action – Monte Carlo

RESULTS
Men’s singles, second round
[11] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 2-6 6-2 6-3
Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
d [6] Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4

Men’s doubles, second round
Mate Pavic (CRO)/Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) d [1] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) 6-3 7-6(6)

COMING UP
Men’s singles, third round
[11] Alex de Minaur (AUS)
v Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 

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