Rising tennis star Alex de Minaur is orchestrating a historic narrative at the Australian Open, dazzling spectators with a commanding performance that secured his spot in the fourth round.
The 24-year-old sensation showcased his prowess in a resounding 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli at John Cain Arena on Friday, January 19.
De Minaur left tennis enthusiasts in awe by swiftly clinching the first set with a 39-minute masterclass that concluded with a precision ace. The second set, while still a triumph, unfolded as a more formidable contest, requiring 57 minutes of intense battle to secure a two-set advantage. Facing off against world No.100 Cobolli, who was making his Open debut, de Minaur exhibited a level of skill that left his opponent struggling to keep pace.
The triumph not only marked de Minaur as the last Australian standing in the singles draws but also positioned him as the nation’s beacon of hope. Following Storm Hunter’s valiant effort, which ended in a third-round defeat to Barbora Krejcikova, de Minaur now carries the mantle of Australian aspirations.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2024
Adding a touch of serendipity to the moment, de Minaur’s stellar performance was witnessed from the stands by none other than former World No.1 and Davis Cup captain, Lleyton Hewitt – his idol.
Hewitt’s memorable round-of-16 hat-trick in 2005, culminating in a final appearance, has become the stuff of legend. De Minaur’s recent display has ignited hopes that a similar odyssey may be in the making.
Reflecting on the significance of matching Hewitt’s feats at Melbourne Park, de Minaur revealed his ambition to surpass the fourth round, setting his sights on a quarter-final berth and seeking to improve upon his best Grand Slam finish at the US Open in 2020.
“First of all, I’ll try to get a little bit better and beat my personal best and get to the quarter-finals. That’s the first step,” he said.
“I’ve made a couple of fourth rounds in the past and maybe have gotten to that point and not played the type of match I wanted to.
“I’m hoping I can break that barrier and go one further.”
Approaching the fourth round with an air of confidence, the Australian sensation highlighted his peak condition and underscored the pivotal role of his mindset in the upcoming match.
“I’m the freshest I’ve felt at this stage of the tournament,” he said.
“It’s all going to come down to the level I bring in the following match.
“I’ve got to back myself up, I’ve got to believe, got to play positive tennis.
“I know the whole crowd is going to be behind me and I’m going to enjoy every second of it.”