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Alex de Minaur records seven-year first in blazing start to title defence in Acapulco

The World No.9 has become the first defending champion to reach the Acapulco quarter-finals since Dominic Thiem in 2017.

Pictured Alex de Minaur
Alex de Minaur has become the first defending champion to reach the Acapulco quarter-finals since Dominic Thiem in 2017. Image: Getty

Australia's top-ranked tennis player Alex de Minaur has become the first defending champion to reach the Acapulco quarter-finals since Dominic Thiem in 2017, with a 6-1 6-3 demolition job of Austrian world No.37 Sebastian Ofner. The World No.9 has got off to a blistering start in Mexico, winning both matches in straight sets.

The Aussie came into Acapulco on the back of an early exit in Los Cabos, where he looked tired and out of sorts, going down in straight sets to American Alex Michelsen. De Minaur is narrowly maintaining his ranking inside the top 10 but needs to at least reach the final in Mexico to stay there. That is because the Aussie won his maiden Masters 500 title at Acapulco last year and therefore is defending the points at this year's tournament.

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After cruising past Ofner on Thursday to make the last eight, De Minaur credited his "big heart" for his bounce back to form. "I’ve got a very big heart, I'll tell you that," De Minaur said in his post-match interview.

"This heart is going to keep me going, no matter what the score is, where I'm at, what stage of my career I am (in). It's what's gotten me to this point so far, and it's what's going to hopefully get me further and further."

De Minaur has lost just seven games at Acapulco this year and his serve has been near faultless. On Thursday, the Aussie won a whopping 90 per cent of points on his first serve.

"It's all about trying to put as much pressure as I can on my opponents every single service game," De Minaur said. "And no matter what the result is in that game, just always try to stay in there and try to win a couple points here and there. To be honest, I don't think I'm doing anything special out there. I'm just asking the question."

Currently sitting at a career-high World No.9, De Minaur knows he needs to make the final if he wants to stay in the top 10 but he isn't getting ahead of himself. "You don't want to get too ahead of yourself, in my case I don't even like to look at the draw," De Minaur said. "It's a long way to get to that title match and at this stage, I'm not even thinking about it."

SAN JOSÉ DEL CABO, MEXICO - AUGUST 05: Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece addresses the crowd after defeating Alex De Minaur of Australia during the final of the Mifel Tennis Open by Telcel Oppo at Cabo Sports Complex on August 05, 2023 in San José del Cabo, Mexico. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet Alex De Minaur in the quarter-finals, a man the Greek star has beaten on all 10 occasions they have faced. Image: Getty (Matthew Stockman via Getty Images)

Alex De Minaur's bogeyman Stefanos Tsitsipas awaits

Up next for De Minaur is his bogeyman Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek stormed into the quarter-finals with a straight-set 6-3 7-6 (8-6) win over Flavio Cobolli on Thursday.

Tsitsipas will like his chances of reaching the semi-finals as he has dominated the Aussie to date. The Greek star holds a perfect 10-0 record against De Minaur and he has only dropped a single set to the World No.9 in the pair's last eight meetings. They last went head-to-head in August at the ATP 250 in Los Cabos where Tsitsipas beat De Minaur in straight sets.

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