Sport Tennis Mixed results for Australians on Wimbledon opening day
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Mixed results for Australians on Wimbledon opening day

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Popyrin stormed through the qualifier to reach the Wimbledon main draw against Pablo Carreño Busta (pictured). Photo: Getty
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It was a mixed opening day for Australian players at Wimbledon as youngster Alexei Popyrin surged into the second round, while a loss left Daria Gavrilova considering taking time out from tennis.

Popyrin lived up to the hype with a straight-sets statement win over Pablo Carreno Busta on Tuesday morning (Australian time).

After stampeding through the qualifying draw, the 19-year-old outgunned the 2017 US Open semi-finalist 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 6-2 in his much-anticipated main-draw debut at the All England Club.

Popyrin signed off with four straight aces to wipe out Busta, a one-time world No.10, in less than two hours.

“It felt really good, having gone through qualies, having done all the hard work and getting that first-round win. It’s a special feeling,” he said.

“My style is to take advantage of each point with the big serve, dictating the points on my terms.”

The exciting teenage prospect next plays Russian 11th seed Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday.

Also advancing was Ajla Tomljanovic, who beat 29th-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-3 6-1, while Astra Sharma lost to No. 27 seed Sofia Kenin of the United States 6-4 6-2.

Gavrilova meanwhile, confessed to struggling mentally following her swift first-round 7-5 6-0 collapse against eighth seed Elina Svitolina.

“I’m not in a good headspace right now,” the one-time Australian No.1 said.

Ranked 20th in the world two years ago, Gavrilova is set to tumble to around 89th after her 11th first-round defeat of an injury-ravaged season.

The 25-year-old has been battling debilitating plantar fasciitis in her foot as well as Achilles tendonitis, which has conspired to erode the usually bubbly star’s confidence.

Gavrilova said a mid-career sabbatical may be the solution.

“It’s a tough decision to make and it’s a bit scary at the same time,” she said.

Newly-crowned No. 1 women’s player Ashleigh Barty will launch her Wimbledon assault against China’s Zheng Saisai in her opening match on Court 1 from 10pm Australian time Tuesday.

-with AAP

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