Alexei Popyrin goes down in straight sets to Ben Shelton in Australian Open third round

Alexei Popyrin has exited the Australian Open following a spirited display in his straight sets loss to talented American Ben Shelton in the third round.

The young Australian had become one of the stories of the tournament when he recorded consecutive five-set victories in the opening two rounds, including a win over world number nine Taylor Fritz.

But having spent more than eight hours on court this week, Popyrin’s legs could not carry him to another win, with Shelton triumphing 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.

Despite the result, 113th-ranked Popyrin had reason to be proud of his third-round finish, having come off a horror 2022 season in which he won only five ATP Tour matches.

His defeat leaves Alex de Minaur as the only Australian left in the singles main draws.

A packed John Cain Arena created a raucous atmosphere, but 20-year-old Shelton was not intimidated, showing why he is one of the up-and-coming stars of US tennis with a cool temperament and an athletic game.

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