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De Minaur opens 2021 with convincing win

Alex de Minaur has launched his 2021 campaign in highly promising fashion, taking just over an hour to win his first match of the year against Malek Jaziri at the Antalya Open in Turkey.

Australia’s No.1 had far too much ammunition to be remotely troubled by the veteran 36-year-old Tunisian Jaziri on Friday as he raced to a 6-1 6-2 win in 62 minutes.

World No.23 de Minaur, ranked 226 places higher than his opponent and seeded fourth in the tournament, breezed through the opening set in half an hour.

Though the 21-year-old from Sydney then lost the opening game of the second, he hit back by reeling off six straight games to book his place in the last-16.

On Thursday, second seed David Goffin had saved five match points to beat his doubles partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the opening round.

The Belgian was staring down the barrel at 4-5 in the second set but withstood the pressure moments before reeling off nine consecutive games in a 3-6 7-5 6-0 victory.

“It’s always great to start the new year with a tough win, saving match points,” the world No.16 told ATPTour.com.

“It was definitely tricky to play Pierre. I’m happy with the way I played, especially after the beginning. I stayed in the match and believed until the end.”

30-year-old Goffin improved his head-to-head ATP career record against Herbert to 6-0 and next takes on German qualifier Matthias Bachinger or Nicola Kuhn of Spain.

Sixth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who ended 2020 on a nine-match losing streak, was another to mount a notable comeback, seeing off Italy’s Andrea Arnaboldi 4-6 7-5 6-1.

The Georgian now faces local wildcard Altug Celikbilek, who recorded his first ATP Tour match win since June 2019 after a hard-fought 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 win over Kacper Zuk of Poland in one hour and 49 minutes.

Seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic was beaten 1-6 6-4 6-0 by Stefano Travaglia while eighth seed Alexander Bublik was a 6-3 6-3 winner against Salvatore Caruso.

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