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Gilles Muller celebrates beating John Millman on Wednesday night in Sydney

Up & Running, Muller Celebrates Win In Sydney

Lopez to face #NextGenATP de Minaur in quarter-finals

Second seed Gilles Muller started his campaign to retain the Sydney International title on Wednesday with a gritty 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over Australian wild card John Millman.

Muller, who was broken in the third game, saved two set points on Millman’s serve at 4-5 and later grew in confidence at the scene of his first ATP World Tour crown 12 months ago. The 34-year-old Luxembourg native broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set, and although he could not convert one match point at 5-3, with Millman serving at 40/30, minutes later he completed the one-hour and 36-minute victory.

“I was looking forward for a long time to come back,” said Muller, afterwards. “I was very happy when I arrived in Sydney… I still feel a little bit rusty on the court.”

Read Feature: The Two People Who Inspire Muller

Muller, who ended 2017 early due to an elbow injury, will play his second match of the new season against France’s Benoit Paire for a place in the semi-finals. “Benoit is not an easy player,” admitted Muller. “He's a tough competitor and always giving people a hard time on the court, but a very good player, very talented. The past couple matches I played him, I think I lost. So it's going to be tough.”

Read Report: Strong Day For Italians On Wednesday

de Minaur

Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, who is making his first appearance in Sydney for five years, reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 13 years with a 6-3, 7-6(1) win over third seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in 79 minutes. Lopez, who struck 23 aces in his first-round win over Australian qualifier Aleksandar Vukic, hit 15 aces past Schwartzman, who was making his tournament debut.

The 36-year-old Lopez, also No. 36 in the ATP Rankings, now challenges Australian Alex de Minaur, 18, who led seventh seed Damir Dzumhur 6-2, 3-0 when the player from Bosnia-Herzegovina retired after 50 minutes of play.

View Thursday's Schedule: Muller, Fognini, Mannarino In Action

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