Australian tennis sensation Alex de Minaur’s dreams of reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals have crumbled in a five-set marathon against the formidable Andrey Rublev.
The 24-year-old fought with tenacity, displaying unwavering resolve, but ultimately succumbed to Rublev’s brilliance in a match that kept spectators on the edge of their seats.
De Minaur’s downfall began with a setback in the first set, marked by a pivotal double fault that handed Rublev an early advantage. Undeterred, the Australian clawed back, securing a two-sets-to-one lead and igniting the Rod Laver Arena with excitement.
De Minaur’s audacious shot around the net and a masterful lob earned him the second set, followed by a commanding 3-0 lead in the third. Despite his efforts, the set slipped away in a tiebreak, setting the stage for a tense fourth set.
Rublev, showcasing remarkable resilience, seized control of the fourth set, setting the scene for a thrilling decider. In the fifth set, the World No.5 elevated his game to another level leading to a final scoreline of 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0 in favour of the Russian powerhouse.
A shattered de Minaur shared his post-match sentiments, expressing that he was “absolutely devastated” by the loss.
“It’s a tough, tough match to finish up my campaign here. Obviously, had aspirations for more. Yeah, my time here was cut short,” he said.
“Andrey deserved the win. He played too good in the fourth and fifth sets. He kind of, in my eyes, just let go and started swinging freely, caught a little purple patch. Yeah, it was too good in the end.”
Rublev had nothing but praise for de Minaur following his victory, commending his opponent for his speed and fortitude on the court.
“I started to tell to myself, ‘you’re going to die today but you will do everything’ (in the fourth set),” Rublev said.
“And somehow I started to play better and better and I found more energy and I was able to win.
“He’s so fast and the way he move with his legs, the speed was crazy. He was super-tough to play, four hours and I’m just happy to be in a quarter-final.”