Latest Tall Poppy News
Jun 1, 2021
Ian ChadbandAAP Alexei Popyrin can at least say that he twice stood on the verge of winning a set against the greatest clay court player in history in his own Roland Garros kingdom. Yet, ultimately, Australia's rising star could only experience the same sinking feeling as countless wannabes before him on Court Philippe Chatrier as he became king of clay Rafael Nadal's latest victim, slayed in straight sets 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7-3). Big-hitting 'Poppy', one of the best young talents in the game, held two set points in Tuesday's third set as he sniffed the chance of becoming only the third man ever to take a set off Nadal in a first round match. Alas, for the 6ft 5in Sydney beanpole, perhaps the moment got to him as, first, he served a double fault and then, stretching for a smash, cracked it too long to allow the 13-times champion to wriggle free of trouble. You don't get second chances against Nadal, who then went on to dominate the tiebreak and emerge triumphant, racking up his 101st victory at Roland Garros after two hours 23 minutes. Astonishingly, he's now won 26 sets in a row at his favourite venue.