De Minaur downed, Millman forced to retire at Paris Masters

Australian young gun Alex de Minaur has failed to convert two match points before losing a three-set marathon to Feliciano Lopez at the Paris Masters.

Almost twice de Minaur's age, the seasoned Spaniard showed his mettle to fight back in the tiebreaker and triumph 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) in their first-round clash at the ATP Masters 1000 level event.

Bounced: Alex de Minaur in action during his first-round loss at the Paris Masters.

Bounced: Alex de Minaur in action during his first-round loss at the Paris Masters.Credit:EPA

The 19-year-old de Minaur, who received treatment for a neck problem after winning the first set, smashed his racquet after Lopez won a 16-shot rally to close out the match in just under three hours.

Lopez bludgeoned 19 aces to three but neither found it easy to make inroads on serve with only one break in the match.

After de Minaur fought off two match points at 4-5 in the third set, the Australian No.1 was on the brink of victory after racing to 6-4 in the deciding tiebreak.

But the 37-year-old Lopez reeled off four straight points to stop de Minaur in his tracks and advance to a round of 32 date with Argentinian 15th-seed Diego Schwartzman.

Earlier on Monday, John Millman's season appeared to come to an end after he was forced to retire during his first-round match against Nikoloz Basilashvili due to a back injury.

The US Open quarter-finalist has endured a steady stream of injuries over the years and seemed limited in his match against the hard-hitting Georgian.

The 29-year-old Millman was heard to say he was struggling to serve and received painkillers and strapping to his back when down 4-3 in the first set.

The Australian No.2 pulled the pin after dropping the set 6-4.

Millman missed much of 2017 through injury but has had a strong 2018, moving up to world No.35.

He defeated Roger Federer to reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows, made the final of the Hungarian Open in April and was recently short-listed for the ATP comeback player of the year award.

But pickings have been slimmer since his remarkable US Open, winning just the one match in his past four tournaments.

Lucky loser Matt Ebden remains the sole Australian left in the draw in Paris and will face Karen Khachanov for a spot in the last 16 after the Russian beat Filip Krajinovic 7-5, 6-2.

Other first-round winners were home favourite Richard Gasquet, Roberto Bautista Agut, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Damir Dzumhur, Joao Sousa and Adrian Mannarino.


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