Aussie hopeful Alex de Minaur has delivered a ruthless display to defeat Italian Matteo Arnaldi in a 'revenge' clash for Australia after the nation's loss in the Davis Cup final last year. De Minaur was entering the second round of the Australian Open after his first round match against Milos Raonic was cut short because of his rival's retirement.
And the World No.10 didn't waste anytime as he continues his charge into the second week of the Australian Open having dismantled Arnaldi in straight sets. De Minaur has added power to both his forehand and serve during the off season and it is already showing at Melbourne Park having hit a 210km/h serve against the Italian, which at one point was not in the arsenal of the Aussie.
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After the first set, de Minaur never looked back after he bagelled the Italian and raced towards the finish line. Arnaldi defeated Alexei Popyrin last year in the final tie of the Davis Cup to end Australia's dream.
There was to be no devastation this time as de Minaur raced into the third round with his girlfriend, and fellow women's single star Katie Boulter, watching on in the crowd. Davis Cup captain, and de Minaur's mentor Lleyton Hewitt, admitted before the match they were looking for 'revenge' after their defeat last year to Italy.
And de Minaur said it was in his mind as he took to the court on Rod Laver Arena. "Yeah, look, it's no secret, it was heartbreaking at the end of the year losing to Italy in the Davis Cup final," de Minaur said in his post-match interview. "But I told the boys we're gonna be back there. We're gonna get another chance. Today was a little bit of revenge for Australia. Happy to be in the next round."
But de Minaur reserved special praise for his opponent who is rising up the rankings. "Yeah, look, very happy. I mean, Matteo is a hell of a player. Very exciting player. Has a lot of firepower," de Minaur said.
"Has a, very very high level. I thought I just had to be solid here, use the crowd, try to stay focused. I'm very happy to get the win today. So thank you guys." Aussie fans were thrilled with de Minaur's level as he remains Australia's best hope for a deep run into the grand slam.
World #10 Alex De Minaur, Australian's biggest hope for a deep singles run at the #AusOpen, plays a great match to beat Matteo Arnaldi 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 and reach the 3rd round in Melbourne.
Looking very good -- faces Cobolli or Kotov on Friday. pic.twitter.com/YnspsWDbnP
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 17, 2024
Alex de Minaur (10) is through to the 3R (at least) at the #AusOpen for the third straight year.
Easily beats 🇮🇹 Matteo Arnaldi in straight sets.
6-3 6-0 6-3.
Gets Kotov or Cobolli next..
Has started this season so well! #deMinaur #Arnaldi #AusOpen2024
— Michael Ponticello (@therealminirabs) January 17, 2024
Enjoying watching Alex de Minaur, witnessing his evolution has been a treat. Arnaldi strikes me as a talented player too.
Representing the Aussies admirably, hoping for a stellar year ahead! 🎾🇦🇺
— Ivan Vidal (@ContraDropShot) January 17, 2024
Just watched this little kid Matteo Arnaldi get bagel’d LOL some nasty work from Alex De Minaur #AusOpen
— Jack MeHoff (@BrentPaterson94) January 17, 2024
De Minaur dominated Arnaldi tonight
— Capt. Marchy (@TheMaster_Plan_) January 17, 2024
Jannik Sinner advances in stunning fashion
Alexei Popyrin is another Aussie in action on Wednesday and he will take centre stage to take on World No.1 Novak Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena. While Arnaldi couldn't get the job done, popular Italian Jannik Sinner had no such issues as he carried his electric 2023 form into the Australian Open having also eliminated young Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong.
The Italian is on the same side of the draw as Djokovic and de Minaur, but was thrilled to continue his strong form. "He's a very good player. I'm very happy that he makes me play this kind of level," Sinner said.
"I'm sure that he is going to play so many more matches in the slams, so I'm looking forward to it." Sinner was dominant in the indoor season last year and was thrilled to have played under the closed roof at Margaret Court Arena.
"For me, they can play the whole tournament indoors," he said. "It doesn't really matter. It's a little bit different. The first-round match was a little bit windy, but the weather is good. I mean, we're in Australia. Back in Europe is very cold weather - we're all very happy to play here."
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