<
>

Australian Open Day 4: Barty, De Minaur breeze into third round

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Seven Aussies are in action on Day 4 of the Australian Open with the likes of Ash Barty, Alex De Minaur and Alexei Popyrin leading the charge towards the final 32.

Keep track of how all the locals are faring in the first Grand Slam of the year, right here with ESPN.

Ash Barty (AUS) def. Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
6-1, 7-6(7)

Barty continued her red-hot Australian Open form with a comfortable straight sets win over compatriot and tournament wildcard Gavrilova. The world No. 1 was in control throughout the match on Rod Laver Arena, until she served for the match at 5-2. Gavrilova dug in, forcing a second set tiebreak which stretched out to 16 points, with Barty eventually securing the win in one hour and 32 minutes.

Barty said her fellow Aussie was a tough opponent, given they've spent a lot of time getting to each other style of play in practices and at Fed Cup level.

"When you play a compatriot, ranking go out the window, experience goes out the window," Barty said.

The Queenslander will face the winner of 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and Barbora Krejcikova in the third round of the tournament.

Alex De Minaur (AUS) def. Pablo Cuevas
6-3, 6-3, 7-5

Australia's top-ranked male was too strong for the Uruguayan veteran, taking care of business in straight sets and in just under two hours.

De Minaur was hardly troubled in the first two sets, but went down a break in the third. Instead of looking shaky, however, De Minaur rallied to break back later in the set, securing the victory 7-5 in the third.

The Australian will face Italian journeyman Fabio Fognini in the third round; it took Fognini five sets and 3 hours and 56 minutes to defeat compatriot Salvatore Caruso on John Cain Arena. Fognini, the 16th seed, won a marathon fifth set tiebreaker 14-12.

Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) def. by Stefanos Tsitsipas
6-7(5), 6-4, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-4

Kokkinakis provided a contest worthy of his Rod Laver Arena fixture against No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Aussie, returning from a horror run of injuries and glandular fever he suffered in 2020, was gutsy in going down to his Greek opponent in five hard-fought sets.

At times, Kokkinakis troubled his Greek opponent, who continually chatted at his player's box out of frustration; ideally, Tsitsipas would have like to wrap it up in four sets after he lost the first set to the upstart Aussie, but Kokkinakis had other ideas, saving a match point in the fourth set to send it to the decider.

This was Kokkinakis' first 5-setter since the first round of the US Open in 2017, when he lost to Janko Tipsarevic.

Sam Stosur (AUS) def. by Jessica Pegula
6-0, 6-1

It was a dirty night at the office for the veteran Stosur, who was bounced out of the Australian Open by American Jessica Pegula in striaght sets, 6-0, 6-1.

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) def. by Lloyd Harris
6-2, 1-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3

Heartbreak for the 21-year-old Popyrin, who fell to South African Harris in a see-sawing five-set encounter. The South African looked to be well in control early, and took the first with ease before the Aussie hit back with a scintillating set of his own.

Harris then won the third, and looked likely in the fourth, but the Australian found another gear - forcing a tiebreak which won to raucous applause on Court 3. However, Popyrin couldn't sustain the momentum, falling 6-3 in the decider.

Popyrin tallied 57 unforced errors for the encounter and converted just two of his four break point opportunities in the match, while he'll also lament a 58 percent first-serve percentage to his opponent's 65 percent.

Christopher O'Connell (AUS) def. by Radu Albot
6-2, 7-5, 7-6(8)

It wasn't to be for O'Connell who went down in straight sets to the unseeded Albot on Court 3.

O'Connell entered the tournament as a wildcard but gained plenty of admirers with his effort in the first two rounds of his home Slam.