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Monday, January 30, 2023

Australian Open: Alexei Popyrin open up golden opportunity after epic upset

Not done yet, giant-killing Alexei Popyrin knows opportunity knocks as the new big home hope confronts a dream seed-free path to the Australian Open quarter-finals – and possibly beyond.

Popyrin can enter uncharted waters with a third-round victory over American world No.89 Ben Shelton on Saturday after opening up the draw for himself with a rollicking five-set win over eighth seed Taylor Fritz.

A fit and focused Popyrin insists he has eyes only for Shelton as he chases a spot in the second week of a grand slam for the first time.

But it’s impossible not to dream knowing that world No.25 Roberto Bautista Agut is the highest-ranked player left in Popyrin’s blown-open quarter of the draw, presenting the 23-year-old with a rare opportunity to make the final four of his home slam.

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