Alex de Minaur's classy act backfires as Alexander Zverev gets revenge at Indian Wells

The German turned the tables on the Aussie in a tense battle at the ATP 1000 tennis event.

Alex de Minaur produced a remarkable act of sportsmanship for Alexander Zverev before going down to the German in a tense Round of 16 match at Indian Wells. De Minaur made a red-hot start in the Californian desert on Tuesday and took the opening set 7-5 against the sixth seed.

But Zverev turned things around in the second and third, breaking the Aussie multiple times to prevail 5-7 6-2 6-3. There was a flashpoint at the start of the third set when the lights came on in the stadium in between a first and second serve from Zverev.

Alex de Minaur and Alexander Zverev at Indian Wells.
Alex de Minaur showed great sportsmanship and allowed Alexander Zverev to hit another first serve. Image: Tennis TV/Getty

The German was left fuming when the chair umpire rejected his request to hit his first serve again. "In what universe is that not a let?" Zverev asked the umpire as his argument fell on deaf ears.

But despite what the umpire ruled, de Minaur interjected and said he was happy to replay the point so Zverev could have a first serve again. The stunning act from de Minaur won widespread praise from tennis fans, who described his actions as "classy".

Unfortunately for the Aussie he didn't receive any good karma from the gesture, running out of steam as Zverev advanced to a clash with Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals. The win for Zverev marked some revenge for the German after he lost to de Minaur at the United Cup in the lead-up to the Australian Open in January.

That win catapulted de Minaur into the top 10 of the ATP rankings - and he's maintained his level to be World No.10. He's likely to remain there because Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is right behind de Minaur in 11th, lost to Jiri Lehecka earlier on Tuesday.

Carlos Alcaraz gets revenge as Stefanos Tsistipas crashes out

Alcaraz was way too good for Fabian Marozsan earlier on Tuesday, winning 6-3 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals as the top remaining seed in the men's draw. The draw has opened up in a big way for Alcaraz and others after World No.1 Novak Djokovic suffered a shock loss to Luca Nardi on Monday.

Alcaraz exacted revenge over his Hungarian opponent after Maroszan ousted him from the Italian Open last May. Alcaraz is bidding to become the first player to defend the title at Indian Wells since Djokovic in 2016.


The Spaniard dropped the first set in his opening match this year, but has lost just 12 games in the other six sets that have followed. "Honestly, I was nervous before the match. I'm not going to lie," Alcaraz said afterwards. "Playing against someone that beat you ... Today I knew what I had to do."

Tsitsipas was another shock loser on Tuesday, losing to Jiri Lehecka. The 11th seed from Greece slumped to a 6-2 6-4 loss to the 32nd-ranked Czech.

Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Alex de Minaur.
Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Alex de Minaur at Indian Wells. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic suffers shock loss to Luca Nardi

Djokovic's loss against Nardi marked the first in his career against a 'lucky loser'. The World No.1 hadn't played at Indian Wells since 2019 due to US travel restrictions, and his hopes of winning a record sixth title were dashed by his 123rd ranked opponent.

"He really didn't have anything to lose, so he played great. Deserved to win," Djokovic said. "I was more surprised with my level. My level was really, really bad. These two things come together. He's having a great day, I'm having a really bad day.

"I made some really terrible unforced errors. Just quite defensive tennis and not much on the ball in the third, and that's it. He just stepped in and he used the time that he had. He was playing more free and more aggressive than I did, and going for his shots and that break on 3-2 in the third was enough."

The loss also means Djokovic, who lost to Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January, hasn't won a title so far in 2024. The 36-year-old will now turn his focus to the Miami Open - the second leg of the 'Sunshine Double'.

"No titles this year, that's not something I'm used to," he said. "I was starting the season most of my career with a grand slam win or, you know, Dubai win, or any tournament. I guess every trophy that eventually comes my way is going to be great, obviously to break the kind of negative cycle a little bit I'm having in the last three, four tournaments where I haven't really been close to my best."

with agencies

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