De Minaur slumps to early exit in Antwerp

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Alex de Minaur has lost to a qualifier in the first round of the European Open in Antwerp.
Camera IconAlex de Minaur has lost to a qualifier in the first round of the European Open in Antwerp. Credit: EPA

Australian interest at the ATP Tour's European Open in Antwerp is over with Alex de Minaur and Jordan Thompson both going out in the first round in straight sets.

World No.26 De Minaur crashed 6-4 6-0 to qualifier Brandon Nakashima while Thompson suffered a 6-3 6-3 defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The capitulation of de Minaur came after the sixth seed led 3-2 with an early break, before managing to win just one more game.

His serve was broken five times by Nakashima, who made his first two ATP Tour finals earlier this year in Los Cabos and Atlanta.

Thompson fought back from a break down in the first set to draw level at 3-3 but couldn't go on with it as Spaniard Davidovich Fokina eased to victory in one hour and 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, former world No.1 Andy Murray battled past American Frances Tiafoe in a three-hour 45-minute marathon to reach the second round.

Back at the scene of his last singles title in 2019, Murray prevailed 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) in a gripping encounter.

It was the longest best-of-three-set match of 2021, breaking the mark set by Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open final.

"I don't think I've ever played a match like that," the 34-year-old Murray said in his on-court interview.

"I think it's the longest three-set match I've played by quite a distance and I'm tired right now."

Fifth-seeded Reilly Opelka went down to fellow American Jenson Brooksby, the qualifier securing a 6-4 6-4 victory.

Others to advance from the opening round were seventh-seeded Lloyd Harris, Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, Italian Lorenzo Musetti, Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff and Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen.

with PA

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