As Alex de Minaur’s moment of truth arrived, John McEnroe told viewers about the Aussie's keys to victory for his last 16 match against Andrey Rublev. De Minaur was attempting to become just the sixth Aussie man to make the Australian Open quarter-finals since the tournament moved to Melbourne Park, but fell agonisingly short as Rublev came back to win 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-0.
Pre-match American legend McEnroe said he believed the match would be a tight one, but tipped de Minaur due to the home-court advantage. "I think he is a slight favourite, because of the crowd," McEnroe said on Channel 9.
'NOT DOING ENOUGH': Rod Laver's truth bomb for Alex de Minaur
"I think the crowd’s going to make a big difference in this one, and Rublev’s a little like me. He is a little hot-blooded. When things don’t go quite right he can get feisty out there."
But bizarrely as he talked through what De Minaur needed to do to win the match, Channel 9 put up a graphic highlighting Demon's ‘recipe for success’. While being more accurate on his first serve made sense, as did hitting more forehands, it was the third point 'win more' that grabbed viewers' attention for being a blatantly 'obvious' suggestion. "You just can’t get this type of insight anywhere," one person wrote on social media. While another added: "I just hope someone can relay these tips to Alex".
you just can’t get this type of insight anywhere
— Michael Scott (@puntingscott) January 21, 2024
Why didn’t he think of that earlier? 🤦🏼♂️
— Adrian Gissara (@AGissara) January 21, 2024
All of those feel like they were written 30 seconds before they went on TV.
— Todd Davey (@ToddJDavey) January 21, 2024
“If at first you don’t succeed, succeed”
— Pup Fiction (@jjjove) January 21, 2024
— Holden Hisscock (@meatpieandsauce) January 21, 2024
Be less unsuccessful🤣
— Don'tCallMeShirley (@BrownedoffB) January 21, 2024
Alex De Minaur and Andrey Rublev struggle with windy conditions
De Minaur had two break points in the opening game of the match as the wind caused Rublev's serve all sorts of problems, but the Russian recovered to hold. From there Rublev took control of the first set as both men were put off at times by the blustery conditions on Rod Laver Arena. Rublev largely was able to dictate points from the back of the court in the early going, sending the Aussie all over the court as he took the first set 6-4.
In the second set, de Minaur had more success by changing up the pace and forcing Rublev to come to the net. Both players' serves picked up as well, with neither man managing a break of serve, before some brilliance from the Aussie in the tiebreaker levelled things up at a set apiece in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena.
De Minaur's around-the-net shot 👀 pic.twitter.com/22SIfFjMau
— Relevant Tennis (@RelevantTennis) January 21, 2024
De Minaur has become a perennial fourth-round contender in his tennis career. Sunday's match was his seventh appearance in the last 16 at a grand slam, of which he only has one victory. Fourth seed Jannik Sinner had earlier moved into the quarter-finals after the Italian scored a dominant 6-4 7-5 6-3 win over No.15 seed Karen Khachanov, setting up a clash with Rublev in the final eight.
Alex de Minaur relishes chance to play on Rod Laver Arena at night
Before learning that he was handed the prime-time slot on his chosen court for his fourth-round clash, the 24-year-old de Minaur said he would make the most of wherever he is scheduled to play. "I would love to play on RLA," he said.
"That prime-time slot is pretty special, and you've got to earn it. But ultimately it doesn't really matter when I play, whether I play first match, whether I play last. Whether I play on RLA or court 27, I'm still going to be the same."
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