Alex de Minaur act stuns tennis world as Aussies send USA packing from United Cup

The World No.12 produced an incredible win as Australia sealed their place in the quarter-finals.

Alex de Minaur, pictured here as Australia beat the USA at the United Cup.
Alex de Minaur took down Taylor Fritz as Australia beat the USA at the United Cup. Image: Getty

Australia have advanced to the quarter-finals of the United Cup after Alex de Minaur stunned Taylor Fritz to help the Aussies eliminate the USA. De Minaur kicked off the tie with an incredibly dominant 6-4 6-2 win over World No.10 Fritz, in a huge statement before the Australian Open.

Ajla Tomljanovic then lost 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 to World No.5 Jessica Pegula, meaning it all came down to the deciding mixed doubles rubber. Matt Ebden and Storm Sanders knew they needed to win in straight sets in order for Australia to top the group, which also featured Great Britain.

WONDERFUL: Petra Kvitova news delights fans amid Naomi Osaka return

'DIDN'T SAY THAT': Rafa Nadal's shock announcement amid tennis return

And the gun pairing got the job done, defeating Pegula and Rajeev Ram 6-3 6-1 to knock the defending champions out in the group stage. The Aussies' hopes of making the quarter-finals took a huge dent on Friday after they lost to Great Britain 2-1.

But their against-the-odds victory against the US left team captain Lleyton Hewitt beaming with pride. "They played fantastic, it was great," Hewitt said. "I'm very proud. It was backs against the wall after our first match. They left everything out there. It bodes well for Wednesday night."

Alex de Minaur's stunning win over Taylor Fritz

Fritz was one of the heroes for America in last year's United Cup triumph, recording four wins from his five singles matches. He took down grand slam finalists Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini on that occassion, but was no match for a fired-up de Minaur on Monday night.

The Aussie World No.12 registered 28 winners to Fritz's 19 in the stunning victory in just 89 minutes. Fritz threw his racquet across the court in disgust early in the second set after de Minaur pulled off a crazy winner to secure a crucial break, summing up Fritz's feelings about the match.

After another brilliant winner from de Minaur later in the match, Fritz simply rested his head on the net in defeat. “I’m not sure I’ve seen him play better than this,” John Fitzgerald said on commentary.

Alex de Minaur.
Alex de Minaur in action against Taylor Fritz at the United Cup. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

De Minaur, who lost to Cameron Norrie in three sets on Friday night, said after his win over Fritz: "Today was a little bit of a new year, new me type of thing. I was in a great head space. I played the type of tennis I wanted to play, so I'm very happy with that.

"I've played Taylor plenty of times. He's got some explosive firepower, and you have to try to not to let him dictate play. I tried to be aggressive. I was able to execute. I'm very happy with that.

"I'm just trying to show out there that I can do a lot more things than just run side to side. I've got a couple of things up my pocket. I have to try to bring them out more."

Ajla Tomljanovic's strong showing against Jessica Pegula

Tomljanovic, who is on the comeback trail following a knee injury, produced a strong showing but went down to Pegula. Tomljanovic was broken early in the women's singles encounter, but rebounded strongly and was on the cusp of winning the first set.

Pegula kept her nerve to fend off three set points, and took her own chances by converting four of her six break-point chances. In contrast, Tomljanovic only converted three of 11 break-points.

Despite not getting the win, Tomljanovic was happy with her performance compared to her 6-2 6-4 loss to Katie Boulter on Friday night. "I'm not going to lie, Friday really kind of put me down," Tomljanovic said.

"I really thought my level wasn't there. But coming out today and putting up a good fight, and even though I didn't win, I felt like I had so many chances."

Matt Ebden and Storm Hunter, pictured here after their win over Jessica Pegula and Rajeev Ram at the United Cup.
Matt Ebden and Storm Hunter celebrate their win over Jessica Pegula and Rajeev Ram at the United Cup. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Ebden and Hunter's win then sealed Australia's place in the quarters - not that they knew it. The Aussie team only found out during an interview with Jelena Dokic after the doubles match.

“We were playing for our lives,” Ebden said. “We knew we had to to everything possible, every point, every game.” Hunter said: “Playing in front of the home crowd and playing with Matty, a Perth local, it is a dream come true to win and go into the quarter-finals at home."

Australia will play the winner of Group E in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. They will likely face Novak Djokovic and Serbia in a mouth-watering clash.

with AAP

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.