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Popyrin stuns de Minaur, Duckworth through

Alex de Minaur, Australia’s No.1, has been shocked by compatriot Alexei Popyrin in the opening round of the Paris Masters.

Popyrin, who only made the draw of the ATP Masters 1000 event as a lucky loser, stunned de Minaur by winning the opening eight games before taking the match 6-0 6-3 in just 57 minutes.

The fourth-highest ranked Australian will face world No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round.

Aussie No.2 James Duckworth also progressed with an impressive victory of his own – 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7-4) over world No.20 Roberto Bautista Agut.

But John Millman is out after a 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-2 defeat to 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman.

World No.71 Popyrin, rattled through the opening set in 20 minutes while de Minaur let out a roar when he finally got onto the scoreboard, breaking in the third game of the second set.

He fought back to 2-2 but was broken again to go 5-3 down as Popyrin survived three break points in the ninth game to close out an impressive victory.

It took Duckworth a lot longer, two hours and 35 minutes, to overwhelm Bautista Agut.

Recovering from a break down early in the third set to force a tiebreaker, Duckworth claimed victory on his first match point when the Spaniard misjudged a service return.

Bautista Agut made fewer unforced errors and won more points but Duckworth won most of the ones that mattered.

Duckworth will now play 19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti, a lucky loser ranked 67 in the world, 12 places lower and 10 years younger.

After his match, Duckworth returned to court one to support Millman, who battled for nearly three hours against Schwartzman.

So frustrated was the Argentine during the match that when the Australian levelled at one set each Schwartzman smashed his racket so badly he needed two time-outs to treat graphite splinters in his hand.

With Schwartzman simmering, Millman had two break points at the start of the third, but failed to take them.

He was then broken himself, but despite the scoreline Millman did not go quietly with nine deuces on his final service game before Schwartzman put him away.

Much of the interest in Paris revolves around which players will seal the final two spots in the end-of-season ATP Finals.

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime stayed in the frame by beating Italian qualifier Gianluca Mager 4-6 6-4 6-1.

American trio Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz also advanced to the second round, as did Karen Khachanov, Grigor Dimitrov, Gael Monfils, Marin Cilic and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz.

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