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Jan 15, 2024 11:10 am

Stefanos Tsitsipas rallies to claim opener in Australia

Seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece rallied from a set down to defeat lucky loser Zizou Bergs of Belgium 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 on Monday in his opening match at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Tsitsipas needed nearly three hours to dispatch Bergs, who boasted a serve that reached 134 mph. Tsitsipas recovered to earn a trip to the second round for the sixth straight year at the season’s first grand slam.

“It felt great to be at that level of tennis,” Tsitsipas said. “I was very focused, especially after losing the first set. I knew that this is my time to change things up and move on with better tennis, with better power and movement on the court and I think I outplayed him as well physically. I was stronger physically today, at least that’s the way I felt. I think winning the first match today was all due to physicality and being constantly mentally involved during the match.”

Bergs played well, hitting 52 winners against 44 unforced errors. But Tsitsipas converted seven of 16 break point attempts to move on to face Aussie Jordan Thompson in Round 2.

Australian and 10th seed Alex de Minaur also advanced when Milos Raonic of Canada retired in the third set trailing 2-0. Raonic won the first set 7-6 (6) and de Minaur took the second set 6-3.

No. 27 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada outlasted Austrian Dominic Thiem in a five-hour marathon 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 5-7, 6-3. Auger-Aliassime led 5-2 in the third-set tiebreak before Thiem began his comeback.

“(There’s) a lot of relief,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It’s crazy, in these matches you go through really all the emotions. It was a great level, a great match, and I started well. Then this is sport, sometimes it sucks. You’re trying your best, and he also played well, and it was a struggle for me.”

Ninth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland cruised past Australian qualifier Omar Jasika in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-2.

No. 15 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia needed four hours and four sets to get past German Daniel Altmaier.

Frenchman and No. 20 seed Adrian Mannarino needed five sets to defeat Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland while No. 30 Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina defeated five-time finalist Andy Murray of Great Britain in straight sets.

Other seeded winners included No. 21 Ugo Humbert of France and No. 24 Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

–Field Level Media

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