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Purcell leads Aussies into second round at Houston

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Max Purcell, Jordan Thompson and James Duckworth open clay campaigns on winning notes at the ATP 250 event.

Houston, USA, 3 April 2024 | Dan Imhoff

Houston, USA

Max Purcell’s switch to clay has reaped immediate rewards after holding off rising American teenager Alex Michelsen at Houston on Tuesday.

While seeded eighth, Purcell came into the first-round clash ranked nine places lower than the big-serving world No.70.

The Australian had succumbed in his previous four matches on hard courts but steadied to stymy the 19-year-old debutant 7-5 6-7(4) 6-4 for a shot at another American, wild card Michael Mmoh, in the second round.

Purcell was among three of his four compatriots who opened their campaigns with a win on Tuesday.

World No.105 James Duckworth breezed through 6-3 6-3 against left-handed Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer, who had reached the semifinals and quarterfinals in the past two years. Duckworth’s win set a second-round meeting with third seed and reigning champion, Frances Tiafoe.

World No.108 Thanasi Kokkinakis rebounded from a one-set deficit but was unable to carry the momentum of a 3-1 lead in the deciding set as American Aleksandar Kovacevic prevailed 7-6(3) 6-7(2) 6-4.

Kovacevic will meet Australian Jordan Thompson in the second round following the sixth seed’s 6-4 6-4 triumph over Chinese qualifier Wu Yibing.

It was Thompson’s first match win since landing a maiden tour title at Los Cabos in February, while Wu was contesting his first tournament since last year’s Asian Games in September.

> READ: Train with Daria Saville – “Having intentions is really important”

Aussies in action – Houston

RESULTS
Men’s singles, first round
[8] Max Purcell (AUS) d Alex Michelsen (USA) 7-5 6-7(4) 6-4
James Duckworth (AUS) d [Q] Gijs Brouwer (NED) 6-3 6-3
Aleksandar Kovacevic (USA) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 7-6(3) 6-7(2) 6-4
[6] Jordan Thompson (AUS) d [Q] Wu Yibing (CHN) 6-4 6-4

Men’s doubles, first round
Andrew Harris (AUS)/Rinky Hijikata (AUS) d [2] Nathaniel Lammons (USA)/Jackson Withrow (USA) 6-4 6-4

Men’s singles, second round
Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v Brandon Nakashima (USA)
James Duckworth (AUS)
v [3] Frances Tiafoe (USA)
[8] Max Purcell (AUS)
 v [WC] Michael Mmoh (USA)

Men’s doubles, second round
[4] Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) v Anirudh Chandrasekar (IND)/Vijay-Sundar Prashanth (IND)
John Peers (AUS)
/William Blumberg (USA) v [WC] Andres Andrade (ECU)/Ben Shelton (USA)
Andrew Harris (AUS)/Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v Luciano Darderi (ITA)/Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) or Fernando Romboli (BRA)/Marcelo Zormann Da Silva (BRA)

Charleston, USA

Astra Sharma has made the most of a lucky loser place in the Charleston draw to reach the second round at the expense of countrywoman Arina Rodionova.

The world No.135 had tasted success in the South Carolina city three years ago, when she captured her sole career title at a WTA 250 event there.

On Tuesday, she advanced to a meeting with 16th seed Lesia Tsurenko following her 6-4 6-1 victory at the WTA 500 tournament.

Aussies in action – Charleston

RESULTS
Women’s singles, first round
[LL] Astra Sharma (AUS) d Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-4 6-1

Women’s doubles, first round
[1] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) d [WC] McCartney Kessler (USA)/Clervie Ngounoue (USA) 6-2 6-3

COMING UP
Women’s singles, second round
[Q] Daria Saville (AUS) v [7] Elina Svitolina (UKR)
[LL] Astra Sharma (AUS)
v [16] Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)

Women’s doubles, quarterfinals
[1] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Magda Linette (POL)/Zhang Shuai (CHN) or Ingrid Gamarra Martins (BRA)/Tereza Mihalikova (SVK)

Marrakech, Morocco

Aleksandar Vukic has reached the second round at Marrakech after denying Frenchman Alexandre Muller 6-3 7-6(5).

The world No.67’s win set a clash with second seed Sebastian Ofner.

It was his first ATP match win since Indian Wells last month and a fortnight since he reached an ATP Challenger hard-court semifinal at Phoenix.

Aussies in action – Marrakech

RESULTS
Men’s singles, first round
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) d Alexandre Muller (FRA) 6-3 7-6(5)

COMING UP
Men’s singles, second round
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v [2] Sebastian Ofner (AUT)

Men’s doubles, first round
[ALT] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS)/Sumit Nagal (IND) v Boris Arias (BOL)/Federico Zeballos (BOL)

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