Advertisement

Alex de Minaur makes history against Novak Djokovic as Aussies advance at United Cup

The World No.12 became just the third Australian to beat the 24-time grand slam champion, ending his 43-match streak down under.

Alex de Minaur and Novak Djokovic, pictured here at the United Cup.
Alex de Minaur beat Novak Djokovic as Australia beat Serbia to reach the United Cup semi-finals. Image: Getty

Alex de Minaur has become just the third Australian in tennis history to beat Novak Djokovic, taking down the World No.1 as Australia beat Serbia to reach the semi-finals of the United Cup. De Minaur scored the biggest win of his career and his first over a World No.1 as he took down Djokovic 6-4 6-4 in a stunning display in Perth on Wednesday night.

Ajla Tomljanovic then secured victory for Australia and a spot in the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-1 thrashing og World No.184 Natalija Stevanovic in just 64 minutes. Matt Ebden and Storm Hunter later completed a 3-0 whitewash for Australia, winning the mixed doubles 6-3 6-3 to send Serbia packing.

CLASSY: Novak Djokovic responds to Rafa Nadal's triumphant return

NOT GOOD: Rafa Nadal's concerning admission after return to tennis

But the story of the night was de Minaur's incredible win over Djokovic, who was plagued by a wrist issue throughout the match. The World No.12 joined Lleyton Hewitt and Nick Kyrgios as the only Australians to beat Djokovic throughout his illustrious career.

Although he beat Rafa Nadal at last year's United Cup, de Minaur's win over Djokovic marks his career highlight given the 36-year-old Serb is still at the peak of his powers after winning three of the four grand slams in 2023. De Minaur, Hewitt and Kyrgios are also the only Aussies to beat both Nadal and Djokovic in their careers.

"It's extremely special. Novak is an unbelievable competitor," de Minaur said after breaking Djokovic's 43-match, six-year winning streak in Australia (a stretch of 2172 days). "It feels surreal, it feels amazing. I'm happy to do it here in Perth and Australia."

Alex de Minaur, pictured here with Lleyton Hewitt after beating Novak Djokovic at the United Cup.
Alex de Minaur celebrates with team captain Lleyton Hewitt after beating Novak Djokovic at the United Cup. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Djokovic hurt his wrist while practising on Tuesday morning, and admitted the injury affected him on Wednesday night. However he didn't want to take the spotlight off de Minaur and is confident the issue won't affect his Australian Open campaign.

"It did have quite an impact (tonight), particularly on the forehand and serve," Djokovic said. "Again, I don't want to be spending too much time talking about it and taking away credit from de Minaur. I mean, he was just very solid, as he always is. Congrats to him, to the Australian team."

Alex de Minaur stuns as Australia reach United Cup semi-finals

De Minaur was thrashed 6-2 6-1 6-2 by Djokovic in the fourth round of the Australian Open last year, but he got his revenge on Wednesday night. "It comes from a lot of people not believing in me," the Aussie said.

"I'm just here to prove a lot of people wrong, trying to get better. Ultimately I'm never going to be the biggest or strongest guy, so I've got to adapt.

"I've got to show that I've got variety in my game and I've got different styles of playing tennis. I'm glad I was able to bring this level today."

The Australian tennis team, pictured here at the United Cup.
The Aussies have marched into semi-finals of the United Cup. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

De Minaur has now emerged as a dark horse for the Australian Open after beating World No.10 Taylor Fritz in Australia's previous tie. "If I can bring this sort of level, then there's no reason why I can't go out and have a deep run," de Minaur said of his chances at the grand slam. "That's the goal."

Tomljanovic's win sealed Australia's berth in the semi-finals, where they will take on either Greece or Germany. The victory came as a huge improvement for the World No.292, who lost to Katie Boulter and Jessica Pegula in Australia's previous ties amid her return from a long layoff with a knee injury.

"To get a chance when you're losing to keep going, to have a third match win. It feels good," she said. "It wasn't upbeat for a while, I did have this thought in my head, come January 2024, I want to be ready, anything before that is a bonus. It kind of feels more special when you go through something tough."

with AAP

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

Yahoo Australia