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Australia’s Alex de Minaur beaten Belarusian Ilya Ivashka to motor into the second round of the French Open.
After Thanasi Kokkinakis, Jason Kubler and Storm Hunter had all marked the opening Sunday at Roland Garros with victories, Australia’s No.1 de Minaur regrouped after a second-set blip to win 6-1, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 on a sun-blessed day two.
Alex de Minaur returns the ball to Ilya Ivashka during their men’s first-round clash.Credit: Getty Images
It was only the third time that No.18 seed de Minaur has got past the first round in seven attempts in the Paris grand slam, and there was enough to savour in his two-hour 45-minute triumph to imbue him with confidence moving forward.
The Australian will next play Argentina’s world No.49 Tomas Martin Etcheverry, who earned an easy passage on Monday when British hope Jack Draper, struggling with a left shoulder injury that reduced him to using underarm serves, had to retire soon after losing the first set.
De Minaur had a torrid time in last year’s French Open, being ousted in the opening round in a bearpit atmosphere on Court Suzanne Lenglen by home hope Hugo Gaston.
On Monday, though, it was all far more civilised as, out on court six, de Minaur swept through the first set in just 31 minutes against world No.73 Ivashka.
It was all going well for the Sydneysider until, serving for the second set at 5-3, he encountered a poor spell, coughing up nine unforced errors in the next four games, giving Ivashka the chance to level affairs.
De Minaur hit back immediately, cracking a dozen winners to take the third stanza. By the fourth, the Australian was advancing deep into the court to attack Ivashka’s second serve, the Belarusian was left throwing down his racquet in disgust as de Minaur went on to book his spot in the second round.
The news was not so good on court four, where de Minaur’s compatriot Chris O’Connell went out in straight sets to Japan’s Taro Daniel, 6-0,6-2, 6-4.
Alexei Popyrin was also dumped out, losing to Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-2.
Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 10th seed, became the biggest name to be eliminated from the men’s draw so far, going down in straight sets to Italian veteran Fabio Fognini, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
In the women’s draw, it was a good day for American Sloane Stephens, who cruised to victory over 16th seed Czech Karolina Pliskova, 6-0, 6-4.
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