Popyrin sinks Lopez to start Miami campaign in style

ATP Media

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"It was a very difficult match," Popyrin said. "Feli is a very tough player. He has an unbelievable serve, so when I had my chances to break I was putting all of my focus on the break points.

"There was no rhythm in the match, so not many rallies, but I am happy with the way I was mentally. There were a couple of shaky moments here and there, but I hung in to win."

Popyrin, who captured his first ATP Tour title last month at the Singapore Tennis Open, will meet Reilly Opelka of the United States in the second round.

"This title was a good start to the year, but it means nothing if the rest of the year is bad," Popyrin said. "The work and the focus continue. I just hope I can continue the form I am in now through to the end of the year."

Popyrin won 12 of the first 16 points before Lopez recovered to 4-4 in the opening set. The Spaniard - the oldest player in the draw at 39 years-of-age - paid for a lack of first serves at 4-5, which ended with a double fault.

Lopez regrouped and broke at 5-5 in the second set off a deep return, but Popyrin bounced back in the next game with a low crosscourt forehand to seal a tie-break finish. From 0-1 down in the in the tie-break, Popyrin won five straight points and completed his 10th victory of the season after Lopez hit another double fault.

Elsewhere, Cameron Norrie will play ninth-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the second round after the Briton recovered from 1-5 down in the deciding set to defeat Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.

France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert dominated on serve to beat Pedro Sousa of Portugal 6-1, 6-3 in 65 minutes. He takes on Canadian number-11 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Frenchman Hugo Gaston charged past Acapulco semi-finalist Dominik Koepfer 6-1, 6-4 to earn his maiden ATP Masters 1000 victory. The 20 year-old wild card converted both his break points to book an appointment with Jannik Sinner.

Yannick Hanfmann won 62 per cent of his second-serve return points (16/26) to beat Steve Johnson 7-5 6-2. The German will face Karen Khachanov in the second round. Yen-Hsun Lu also overcame American opposition when he defeated Sam Querrey 6-3 6-4. Lu, making his 10th appearance at the Masters 1000, saved both break points he faced to confirm a second-round clash with top seed Daniil Medvedev.

- With ATP Media


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