Qualifier Dominik Koepfer completed a remarkable comeback, which included saving one match point at 4-5 in the third set against Alex de Minaur, on Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
De Minaur looked set for a routine win, when he led by a set and 3-0, but Koepfer found a way back for a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) victory in two hours and 33 minutes. Koepfer, who is making his ATP Masters 1000 tournament debut at the Foro Italico this week, will now challenge fifth seed Gael Monfils in the second round.
Koepfer won seven straight games before De Minaur broke in the third game of the decider, one of 13 service breaks in the match. De Minaur held a match point at 5-4, with Koepfer serving at 30/40, but the Australian overhit a forehand. In the next game, a poor forehand volley on break point cost De Minaur, and Koepfer then held to 15 for a 6-5 lead. The World No. 97 kept fighting and held his nerve in the tie-break.
Last week, 21-year-old De Minaur became the youngest Australian to reach the US Open quarter-finals since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, 21, in 2002.
Denis Shapovalov, the No. 12 seed, takes on Guido Pella on Centrale, the main stadium court, later today. The winner plays qualifier Pedro Martinez, who defeated Sam Querrey 6-3, 7-6(3).