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Gavrilova breaks duck at Indian Wells

Australians Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt have qualified for the men's draw of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 event, while Daria Gavrilova has won first up.

Gavrilova breaks duck at Indian Wells

Australians Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt have qualified for the men's draw of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 event, while Daria Gavrilova has won first up.

ALEXEI POPYRIN of Australia plays a forehand shot during the Sydney International at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre in Sydney, Australia.
ALEXEI POPYRIN of Australia plays a forehand shot during the Sydney International at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

Daria Gavrilova's drought is over, with the struggling Australian tennis star finally winning her first match of the year.

A day after celebrating her 25th birthday, Gavrilova battled past Ukrainian teenage prodigy Dayana Yastremksa 6-2 5-7 6-2 to progress to the second round of the prestigious WTA event in Indian Wells.


Gavrilova had been none from six in 2019, the frustrating run sending the one-time world No.20 crashing out of the top 50 for the first time in almost three years.

But the 24-year-old overcame the disappointment of dropping a tight second set to trump Yastremksa in a marathon encounter on Thursday lasting exactly two-and-a-half hours.

Gavrilova's reward is a second-round date with in-form American Sofia Kenin, a finalist last week in Acapulco.

Fellow Australians Ajla Tomljanovic, Samantha Stosur and qualifier Priscilla Hon open their campaigns on Friday, while 12th-seeded Ashleigh Barty has a weekend start to her title quest.

Tomljanovic begins against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, Stosur faces American wildcard Madison Brengle, while Hon is up against fellow qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia.

Summer sensations Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt, meanwhile, have graduated to the men's main draw after surviving two rounds of qualifying in the Californian desert.

Popyrin outclassed Bernard Tomic's first-round slayer Lukas Rosol 7-5 6-3 to progress to the main event of a Masters 1000 event for the first time.

Bolt joined the 2017 French Open junior champion - and fellow Australians Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, John Millman, Matt Ebden and Jordan Thompson - in the main draw with a 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) final-round qualifying win over American Chris Eubanks.

Popyrin will play Spaniard Jaume Manur in the first round, with Bolt up against Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

In backing up their surprise runs to the Australian Open third round, Bolt and 19-year-old Popyrin are on course for an important rankings boost.

Popyrin is provisionally slated to climb to a career-high No.121 in the world, ever closer to the top 105 needed to secure direct entry to the French Open, the season's next grand slam event getting under way in late May.

AAP


AAP




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