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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Tennis: Australia's Purcell upsets top-seeded Monfils in Eastbourne

Purcell lost in the tournament's final qualifying round but made the draw as a replacement after a withdrawal, known in tennis as a lucky loser

AP , Thursday 24 Jun 2021
Max Purcell
Australia's Max Purcell in action during his round of 16 match against France's Gael Monfils Action on June 23, 2021. REUTERS
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Max Purcell's unlikely run continued when he reached the quarterfinals by defeating top-seeded Gael Monfils at the grass-court Viking International in Eastbourne on Wednesday.

The 283rd-ranked Australian beat the Frenchman 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 after trailing 3-0 in the deciding set to secure the biggest win of his career. It's the first time he has made a tour-level quarterfinals in singles.

Purcell lost in the tournament's final qualifying round but made the draw as a replacement after a withdrawal, known in tennis as a lucky loser.

``About the last nine months I've really been struggling to get into any singles events, it's been primarily doubles, so to get a run here on my favorite surface is great,'' the 23-year-old Purcell said on court after eliminating the 16th-ranked Monfils.

``I was lucky to be in the main draw ... with that lucky loser spot, but I'm taking full advantage of it.''

Purcell next faces Andreas Seppi on Thursday for a shot at the semifinals in the Wimbledon warmup tournament. The ATP said it's the latest that two lucky losers have met at a tour-level event since the tour started in 1990.

Purcell's run includes an upset of 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson of South Africa. On Tuesday, he eliminated countryman James Duckworth.

``I kind of seem to pride myself on my fitness and my ability to just back up matches,'' he said. ``I was just going to come out and have a go.''

There were surprises on the women's side, as well.

Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan reached the quarterfinals by beating second-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 7-6 (3), Estonia's Anett Kontaveit eliminated third-seeded Bianca Andreescu of Canada 6-3, 6-3, and Russia's Daria Kasatkina defeated fourth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.

Top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Alison Riske of the United States.

CoCo Gauff fell to Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 a day after the United States teenager eliminated seventh-seeded Elise Mertens in three sets.

Jelena Ostapenko ended Ons Jabeur's career-best six-match winning streak, defeating the Tunisian 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi advanced by beating Shelby Rogers of the United States 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Giorgi was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 2018.

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