Rising local star Alexei Popyrin has saved four match points to send number 13 seed David Goffin packing in a massive first-round upset at the Australian Open.
- Popyrin defeated Goffin 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-3
- This is the third year in a row Popyrin has reached the Australian Open second round
- He joins Chris O’Connell as a day-two winner among the Australian men’s contingent
The 21-year-old Popyrin looked down for the count late in the fourth set when Goffin served for the match at 5-4.
But the Australian saved two match points in that game and a further two in the tiebreaker before stepping up a gear in the deciding set against the flagging Belgian to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 in three hours and 43 minutes.
It is a significant win in his young career, with the 15th-ranked Goffin a former Australian Open quarter-finalist.
His reward is an eminently winnable second-round encounter with South African Lloyd Harris.
Popyrin only formally received his Open wildcard last week after taking the calculated risk to skip the qualifying tournament in Doha.
He is ranked 113 in the world but has reached as high as 87 on the ATP standings.
The 2017 French Open junior champion has reached the third round at Melbourne Park in each of the past two years.
Popyrin’s win followed the inspirational victory of countryman Chris O’Connell, who moved through to the second round of the Australian Open for the first time in his career.
O’Connell, a wildcard in the men’s draw, defeated the 37th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.