Emotional moment young Aussie underdog Alexei Popyrin breaks down in tears after shocking the world by defeating American hotshot Taylor Fritz in a five-set thriller to reach the third round of the Australian Open
- Alexei Popyrin knocks out No 8 seed Taylor Fritz in five sets
- The Aussie got emotional following his mammoth victory
- Popyrin progresses to the third round for the third time
Australian Alexei Popyrin has teared up after claiming a momentous victory, knocking out world No.9 Taylor Fritz to advance to the Australian Open third round.
Popyrin’s new-found fitness paid huge dividends as he backed up less than 48 hours after a five-set marathon to produce another stirring 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 win on Thursday.
The 23-year-old hammered 19 aces and dropped serve only once in a thrilling and gruelling four-hour, two-minute contest, with the Aussie prevailing to reach the third round for a third time.
As he spoke post match with Casey Dellacqua the what he had just achieved started to set in and he could barely hold back his tears.
Alexei Popyrin delivered a huge shock at the Australian Open after knocking out Taylor Fritz
Popyrin, who entered the tournament on a wild card, won a five-set thriller on Thursday, and speaking in the post match interview teared up as his accomplishment set in
‘This win means so much to me, I had the toughest year last year where I didn’t win many matches.. I have won as many matches this year as I did the whole of last year and it’s only January,’ Alexei Popyrin said.
‘This win means so much to me, I had the toughest year last year where I didn’t win many matches,’ Popyrin said.
‘I have won as many matches this year as I did the whole of last year and it’s only January.
‘I’m going to keep going because I love this feeling, I want more of this feeling.
‘I want you guys to have this feeling….this is the dream for me and I don’t want to wake up at all.’
American hotshot Fritz is the latest of a swathe of stars to be eliminated early on
The 23-year-old hammered 19 aces and dropped serve only once in a thrilling and gruelling four-hour, two-minute contest, with the Aussie prevailing to reach the third round for a third time
A hero of Team USA’s season-opening United Cup triumph in Sydney, Fritz hurt his right ankle late in the third set and complained about crowd noise during the fourth as the match slipped away.
Popyrin, meanwhile, rode the energy of the crowd at John Cain Arena and served brilliantly to snare his most impressive win yet at Melbourne Park.
The 23-year-old previously advanced to the last 32 in 2019, when seventh seed Dominic Thiem retired hurt, and again in 2020.
Also a winner at the Indian Wells Masters 1000 last year, Fritz grabbed at his lower right leg late in the third set and called a medical timeout after Popyrin won it to storm to a two-sets-to-one lead.
Popyrin regrouped after failing to convert a match point in the fourth-set breaker to break Fritz for a third time, then a fourth, and claim the biggest win of his career.
Popyrin will take on another American, world No.89 Ben Shelton, in the third round with a golden opportunity to reach the second week of a grand slam for the first time.