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Just two Aussie men left at French Open

Former French Open junior champion Alexei Popyrin and Marc Polmans are the only men left to fly the Australian flag at Roland Garros after three more of their countrymen made first round exits at the French Open. Aleksandar Vukic’s first main draw grand slam appearance resulted in a three-set victory for his Spanish opponent Pedro…

Former French Open junior champion Alexei Popyrin and Marc Polmans are the only men left to fly the Australian flag at Roland Garros after three more of their countrymen made first round exits at the French Open.

Aleksandar Vukic’s first main draw grand slam appearance resulted in a three-set victory for his Spanish opponent Pedro Martinez, 7-5 6-4 6-0, after a long rain delay.

Despite the loss, Sydneysider Vukic, 24, who earned his spot through qualifying, secured a rankings boost and about $130,000 for his efforts.

His loss came after John Millman’s straight set defeat to US Open semi-finalist and 17th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, and James Duckworth also lost 6-2 6-3 6-2 on Monday to American Tommy Paul.

Their losses mean no Australian male has won a set in five matches after Alex de Minaur and Jordan Thompson were both comprehensively rolled on day one.

Of the 11 Australians in the draw, only Astra Sharma and Daria Gavrilova have so far progressed to the second round.

Popyrin and Polmans begin their campaigns on Tuesday night.

Rafael Nadal began his latest attempt to pull even with rival Roger Federer on 20 major titles by beating Egor Gerasimov of Belarus 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

Despite the win, Nadal’s view of things at this pandemic-postponed event, reiterating that it is colder and slower than usual, and his preparation was less than ideal.

“The conditions are completely different than any other Roland Garros that we played,” he said of the rescheduled event.

Elsewhere in the draw, US Open champion Dominic Thiem took down another former New York winner, 2014 champ Marin Cilic, in three sets.

HOW THE AUSSIES FARED ON DAY TWO OF THE FRENCH OPEN:

Aleksandar Vukic lost to Pedro Martinez (ESP) 7-5 6-4 6-0

James Duckworth lost to Tommy Paul (USA) 6-2 6-3 6-2

John Millman lost to Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 6-3 6-2 7-5

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