Seeded scattered to leave just three remaining for quarter-finals
Max Purcell, the Australian ace who has crashed the Viking International Eastbourne main draw with successive victories over two former top 10 stars, has been handed the opportunity to reach his inaugural ATP Tour.
Standing in the way of the exciting 23-year-old from Sydney is ex-Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi, the Italian veteran who superbly captured the 2011 crown at Devonshire Park.
Purcell, world ranked no.283 at the start of the week and only in the main draw as a lucky loser from qualifying, accounted for South Africa’s 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson in the 1st Qualifying Round and in the last 16 stunned France’s Gaël Monfils by seeing off the top seed in three topsy-turvy sets.
Ilya Ivashka, Belarus’ world no.87 who saw off Purcell in the qualifiers, beat British wildcard Alastair Gray in the opening round and Australia’s Alexei Popyrin to set up a quarter-final clash against Kwon Soon-woo.
The South Korea reached the quarter-finals in Singapore and Marbella, Spain, but recently has been on fire with a run to the 3rd Round at the French Open where he stunned Anderson and Seppi.
Only three seeds players remain in the draw, headed by Spanish-based Australian Alex De Minaur (no.2). The six-footer is co-coached by former Aussie legend Lleyton Hewitt and already won a fast court tournament this year, claiming January’s Antalya Open in Turkey with a default victory over Kazakistan’s Alexander Bublik who retired after dropping the opening two games.
Since his season opener ended in a triumph the 22-year-old has failed to make much of an impact on the circuit until arriving at Eastbourne. De Minaur’s opponent is Bahamas-based Canadian Vasek Pospisil, a regular face at Eastbourne’s event.
Pospisil, yet to drop a set at Devonshire Park, took almost three months off the Tour to swerve the clay court season. His comeback was on the German grass in Halle, where he fell in two tiebreaks to American Marcos Giron in the opening round.
The sole match between two seeded players sees the showdown between Italian Lorenzo Sonego (no.3) and Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik (no.8).
Sonego became the first Italian in 15 years to lift an ATP Tour clay court trophy in his home country in April, defeating Serbian Laslo Djere in the Sardegna Open.
Bublik stands at 6’5” and easily leads the number of aces on the ATP Tour this year, fast approaching 500 for the season that included 18 being blasted past compatriot Mikhail Kukushkin in the opening round encounter at Eastbourne.
QUARTER FINALS TIME (BST)
Thu, 24 Jun 11:00 Lorenzo Sonego (3) vs Alexander Bublik (8)
Thu, 24 Jun 12:30 Max Purcell vs Andreas Seppi
Thu, 24 Jun 14:30 Ilya Ivashka vs Kwon Soon-woo
Thu, 24 Jun 15:00 Alex De Minaur (2) vs Vasek Pospisil