Alexei Popyrin extends Diego Schwartzman to a near four-hour battle before bowing out in the second round of the US Open.
New York, USA, 2 September 2022 | Vivienne Christie
Alexei Popyrin has bowed out of the US Open in the second round, following an extended battle with Diego Schwartzman.
After a straight-sets win over Tseng Chun-Hsin in the first round, Popyrin faced a difficult assignment against the 14th-seeded Argentine.
Schwartzman, the current world No.16 in the rankings, is a two-time US Open quarterfinalist, who entered today’s match with a winning record against the Australian.
The pair first met in Popyrin’s first-ever professional match at an ATP Challenger tournament in Canberra six years ago, Schwartzman claiming a 6-3 6-2 victory over the then 16-year-old.
With a more experienced Popyrin staging his 15th campaign in a Grand Slam main draw at Flushing Meadows, their US Open meeting was expected to be a far closer encounter.
But while the three-hour and 42-minute match time was a measure of its intensity, Popyrin will rue missed opportunities in Schwartzman’s eventual 7-6(3) 7-5 7-6(6) victory.
Popyrin, who reached the third round in his past two US Open appearances, set a tone of sorts in the 81-minute first set. He held 13 break points but couldn’t convert any, surrendering his biggest chance as he failed to capitalise on five set points in the 10th game.
It proceeded to a tiebreak, where Schwartzman quickly asserted authority. He claimed just one more point, with 58 to Popyrin’s 57, to secure the first-set advantage.
A turning point seemed imminent as Popyrin at last converted a break point against the 30-year-old in the first game of the second set. It was a brief period of dominance, with Schwartzman immediately breaking back to level.
While there was still little to separate the combatants, Schwartzman was saving his best for the most important moments. He held a set point in the 10th game but converted in the 12th, with a second break of serve against the Australian.
After exchanging service breaks early in the third set, a determined Schwartzman once again delivered in the tiebreak. Popyrin couldn’t captalise on a 4-2 lead, his 30-year-old opponent winning the final four points to complete his victory.
The stats sheet will contain important learning points for Popyrin, with his 42 winners undermined by 69 unforced errors. And while 15 aces were helpful, he converted only two of the 18 break points he held over Schwartzman.
Earlier at Flushing Meadows, fellow Australian James Duckworth lost to Great Britain’s Dan Evans. There were encouraging signs for the 30-year old, who is on the comeback from injury.
> READ: James Duckworth – “I’m feeling way better than I was a month ago “
Aussies in action – US Open
Men’s singles, second round
 Diego Schwartzman (ARG) d Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 7-6(3) 7-5 7-6(6)
 Dan Evans (GBR) d James Duckworth (AUS) 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4
 Frances Tiafoe (USA) d Jason Kubler (AUS) 7-6(3) 7-5 7-6(2)
> READ: Kokkinakis and Kyrgios among Aussie winners in doubles
Men’s singles, third round
 Alex de Minaur (AUS) v  Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)
 Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v [WC] J.J. Wolf (USA)
> VIEW: US Open 2022 men’s singles draw
Women’s singles, third round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v Serena Williams (USA)
> VIEW: US Open 2022 women’s singles draw
> READ: Aussies enjoy winning starts in US Open doubles
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