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Australia’s Purcell upsets top-seeded Monfils in Eastbourne

Viking International Eastbourne - Day 5

EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Max Purcell of Australia in action during his second round men’s singles match against Gael Monfils of France during day 5 of the Viking International Eastbourne at Devonshire Park on June 23, 2021 in Eastbourne, England. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

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EASTBOURNE, England -- Max Purcell’s unlikely run continued when he reached the quarterfinals by defeating top-seeded Gael Monfils at the grass-court Viking International in Eastbourne on Wednesday.

The 283rd-ranked Australian beat the Frenchman 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 after trailing 3-0 in the deciding set to secure the biggest win of his career. It’s the first time he has made a tour-level quarterfinals in singles.

Purcell lost in the tournament’s final qualifying round but made the draw as a replacement after a withdrawal, known in tennis as a lucky loser.

“About the last nine months I’ve really been struggling to get into any singles events, it’s been primarily doubles, so to get a run here on my favorite surface is great,” the 23-year-old Purcell said on court after eliminating the 16th-ranked Monfils.

“I was lucky to be in the main draw ... with that lucky loser spot, but I’m taking full advantage of it.”

Purcell next faces Andreas Seppi on Thursday for a shot at the semifinals in the Wimbledon warmup tournament. The ATP said it’s the latest that two lucky losers have met at a tour-level event since the tour started in 1990.

Purcell’s run includes an upset of 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson of South Africa. On Tuesday, he eliminated countryman James Duckworth.

“I kind of seem to pride myself on my fitness and my ability to just back up matches,” he said. “I was just going to come out and have a go.”

There were surprises on the women’s side, as well.

Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan reached the quarterfinals by beating second-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 7-6 (3), Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit eliminated third-seeded Bianca Andreescu of Canada 6-3, 6-3, and Russia’s Daria Kasatkina defeated fourth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.

Top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Alison Riske of the United States.

CoCo Gauff fell to Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 a day after the United States teenager eliminated seventh-seeded Elise Mertens in three sets.

Jelena Ostapenko ended Ons Jabeur’s career-best six-match winning streak, defeating the Tunisian 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi advanced by beating Shelby Rogers of the United States 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Giorgi was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 2018.