Alexei Popyrin has capitalized superbly on a last-minute opportunity to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, progressing to the second round with a 6-2 6-3 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.
After exiting in the final round of qualifying, the Australian entered the main draw into the ATP 500 tournament as a lucky loser.
Popyrin took 59 minutes to overcome Basilashvili, who at world No.19 is ranked considerably higher than the No.66 Australian.
With valuable efficiency, Popyrin served five aces, not a single double fault and saved all break points that he faced against the experienced 30-year-old.
It sets up a meeting with Ricardas Berankis, a qualifier at the lucrative tournament.
Alex de Minaur had a tougher day in Dubai, suffering a three-sets loss to Karen Khachanov.
Earlier in Dubai, Australian qualifier Chris O’Connell pushed Andy Murray into a determined display before exiting to the former Grand Slam champion in three sets.
Aussies in action – Dubai
Men’s singles, first round
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-2 6-3
Karen Khachanov (RUS) d Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-3 6-7 (1) 7-5
[WC] Andy Murray (GBR) d [Q] Chris O’Connell (OFF) 6-7 (4 6-3 7-5
Men’s doubles, first round
 John Peers (AUS)/ Filip Polasek (SLO) d [WC] Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) / Saketh Myneni (IND) 7-5 7-5
Men’s singles, second round
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [Q] Ricardas Berankis (LTU)
Men’s Doubles Quarterfinals
 John Peers (AUS)/ Filip Polasek (SLO) v Hubert Hurkacz (POL) / Jannik Sinner (ITA)