Popyrin Ousts Istomin To Make Chengdu Open Main Draw

Alexei Popyrin (photo: Chengdu Open)

CHENGDU, September 22, 2019 (Press Release)

The Chengdu Open continues its tradition of nurturing rising stars on the ATP Tour as highly rated Aussie Alexei Popyrin proved his mettle against 2017 Chengdu Open singles champion Denis Istomin to make the main draw of the tournament in his debut here.

The exciting twenty-year-old, who has been tipped by Aussie legend Pat Cash ‘to make it a long way’, stayed calm despite a second set fightback from his more experienced Uzbek opponent to win 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in one hour and 53 minutes on Centre Court. 

The world No.91 NextGen contender is in the midst of a strong season on Tour, having reached his career high of No.87 just two months ago, and is fresh off making the US Open third round with wins over Federico Delbonis and Mikhail Kukushkin.

In the most intensely fought qualifying match contested today, Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak overturned a one set deficit to defeat Australian James Duckworth 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in one hour and 59 minutes on Court 1.

The duo both showcased great serving form today, racking up 22 aces each and winning 84% and 82% of their first serve games respectively. However, it was the world No.84 Majchrzak (career high) who got the all-important break in the third game of the final set and held out for the win. 

In the other two qualifying matches played today, American Bradley Klahn moved past South Africa’s Lloyd Harris 6-3, 7-6(0) in one hour and 20 minutes while Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung prevailed 6-4, 6-2 in 66 minutes over Aussie Luke Saville. 

Seventh seeded world No. 32 Kyle Edmund will commence main draw action tomorrow on Centre Court from 1pm onwards with his first round tie against Chilean Cristian Garin.

The pair have only met once before, when Garin emerged victorious in a 2015 Challenger match in Montevideo, but the higher ranked Brit has been in better form this year. 

He picked up the Oracle Challenger in February, made the fourth round of both the Paribas Masters and Miami Masters in March, reached the last four at the Eastbourne ATP 250 in June and also the last eight at the Citi Open in July. 

The second Centre Court match will see two qualifiers – Klahn and Jung – facing off for the first time on tour, while local wild card Yan Bai will meet Britain’s Daniel Evans in the day’s third and final Centre Court tie. 

Meanwhile, Radu Albot of Moldova and Evans participated in a fun family tennis clinic on the practice courts this morning. 

The duo led serve and volley exercises with young tennis students as well as older participants before partnering up with one boy each to play what turned out to be a highly entertaining mini doubles match.

“I teamed up with one kid and Radu beat me with the other,” joked Evans after the match, adding that it was great to see the kids playing at a high level at such a young age. 

“The kids have strong back hands and play really well. They are hitting much harder than I was when I was a kid. I hope they can keep it up for the future,” said Albot.

Tickets for the Chengdu Open Main Draw Center Court matches through to the finals are available through www.damai.cn