Australia’s two highest-ranked men, Alex de Minaur and John Millman, will meet in a grass-court second round showdown at Queen’s Club.
Fourth-seeded de Minaur fought back from a set down to account for Serbia’s Laslo Djere 3-6 6-3 6-4, a day after his good friend Millman advanced.
World No.21 de Minaur holds a 2-0 win-loss record over 43rd-ranked Millman, having won both of their previous tour-level matches on hard court in straight sets.
Just last month, Millman told AAP that he’s been kept going through the hard times on tour by his girlfriend, coach and a close circle of fellow Aussie players he dubs “the travelling circus from Australia”.
“Obviously, Alex de Minaur, I’m really close with… ,” Millman said.
De Minaur was the only Australian to prevail in Tuesday’s action at the ATP 500 event in London, with Alexei Popyrin and Aleksandar Vukic bowing out.
Qualifier Vukic’s winning run came to an end, with second-seeded Denis Shapovalov scoring a hard-fought 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (8-6) victory.
The 25-year-old Australian impressed in his first career meeting against a top 15-ranked opponent, holding two set points in the first set and another three in the second set.
But world No.14 Shapovalov showed his quality when it mattered, serving 20 aces on his way to victory.
“Definitely not an easy, breezy match… ,” Shapovalov said in his on-court interview.
“I feel obviously very lucky to win this match today. It could have gone either way, so I’m very, very proud of myself.”
Popyrin created enough chances against British sixth seed Dan Evans but could not convert on any of his five break-point chances, falling in straight sets 6-4 6-4.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray made a winning return to Queen’s with a convincing 6-3 6-2 win over Benoit Paire.
Former world No.1 Murray, on the comeback trail after yet another injury setback, was playing his first singles match on grass since 2018.
“The body is old but I did quite well today in terms of my movement and stuff…” an emotional Murray said.
“I love playing tennis… Obviously competing is why you put in the hard work and in the last few years I haven’t been able to do that as much as I’d like so it’s great to be out here and competing again.”
The next challenge will be much tougher for Murray against top seed Matteo Berrettini.
World No.9 Berrettini emerged victorious on his Queen’s debut against fellow Italian Stefano Travaglia 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4).