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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

De Minaur, Popyrin power into Miami Open third round

Alex de Minaur and Alexei Popyrin have both breezed into the last 32 of the Miami Open with straight-sets wins in one of the ATP's biggest events.

Alex de Minaur has enjoyed another milestone on his successful 2024 road by earning his 18th singles win of the season, more than any other man on tour.

With his fellow Sydneysider Alexei Popyrin also winning in straight sets at Miami Gardens, it meant at least two Australians will feature in the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 event, one of the biggest on the circuit.

A third Sydney player Chris O'Connell was also due in action later at the Hard Rock Stadium, set to play rising American 20-year-old Martin Damm in the third round.

It's turning into a real breakthrough season for de Minaur, who's made the top 10 for the first time this year and one of the noticeable improvements is how he's now beginning to waste no energy while dispatching players well below him in the rankings.

On Monday (AEDT) he defeated South Korea's Soonwoo Kwon, who's slumped down the rankings to No.863 after a long struggle with a serving-arm shoulder injury, 6-3 6-2 in just 77 minutes.

After a false start when he went down 0-40 on his opening service game but rallied to hold serve, the Australian was a model of efficiency, not giving up another break point for the rest of the match while cracking Soonwoo's delivery four times.

Things, though, will doubtless get trickier for de Minaur, who won the Acapulco 500 crown earlier in March, when he meets the always dangerous, big-serving 24th seed Jan-Lennard Struff in the last 32.

Popyrin could savour a really good win over Czech 26th seed Jiri Lehecka, who had won his maiden ATP tour event at the Adelaide International earlier this year.

Popyrin cracked down 10 aces and unleashed 18 winners on his way to a 6-4 6-4 victory which looked as it might not be that straightforward when the Czech battled back in the second set and broke the Aussie for a 4-2 lead.

It only prompted Popyrin's best tennis as he reeled off the next four games, losing only five more points as he took victory in 72 minutes.

Next up, he faces Hungarian Fabian Maroszan, who delivered a major shock by defeating world No.7 Holger Rune 6-1 6-1, advancing in just under an hour.

Maroszan is certainly capable of earning big scalps, having defeated Carlos Alcaraz in Rome and Casper Ruud in Shanghai last year. He and Popyrin will be playing against each other for the first time.


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