TOKYO — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime was eliminated from singles play at the Tokyo Olympics after suffering a surprise 6-4, 7-6 (2) defeat to Australian Max Purcell in the first round Sunday.
Purcell, ranked 190th in the world, was initially not supposed to play in the men’s singles tournament. He replaced two-time defending champion Andy Murray on short notice. Murray pulled out of the match earlier Sunday after suffering a right quadriceps injury.
While the contest was a mismatch on paper, it was the 23-year-old Australian who dictated the proceedings. Auger-Aliassime, who turns 21 on Aug. 8, never got into any kind of rhythm, except for a three-game winning streak that saw him go from down 1-3 to up 4-3 in the second set.
The Montrealer’s performance otherwise did not live up to expectations.
Auger-Aliassime struggled with his service game. He only completed 51 per cent of his first serves (42 of 82) and committed nine double faults.
Purcell was simply sharper, especially on second serves, successfully completing 26 of 27 attempts. The Australian was also 2 for 5 on break points.
Auger-Aliassime turns his attention to mixed doubles, which kicks off later this week, with teammate Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa.
Purcell will face the winner between Germany’s Dominik Koepfer and Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis.