De Minaur admits AO exit devastation

January 26, 2024 BY

More to give: World number 10 and Aussie men’s hope, Alex De Minaur went out in the fourth round of the Australian Open in five set last Sunday. Photo: LUKAS COCH/ AAP IMAGE

ALEX De Minaur’s Australian Open ended after he succumbed to Andrey Rublev in a five-setter on Sunday night.

The 24-year-old’s eventual fourth-round exit came after he fought back from a set down to lead the contest 2-1 by the end of the third set.

De Minaur, ranked 10th in the world, won both the second and third sets in tiebreakers before Rublev, ranked 5th, forced his way past the Aussie to claim the fourth and fifth sets with little trouble in claiming a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-0 triumph.

It was a disappointing end to a promising home Grand Slam for De Minaur who admits he expected more of himself.

“Maybe a couple of years ago, or even last year, I would be sitting here saying, ‘I probably shouldn’t have won, he’s higher ranked than I am, I took him to five sets, pretty decent effort’,” he said post-match.

“But it’s completely changed because now I’m sitting here and I’m absolutely devastated because I saw it as a great opportunity and a match that I strongly believed I could have won.

“But it just slipped away.”

De Minaur’s improved serving deserted his game as he made just 53 per cent of his first serves throughout.

He concedes it is this specific area of his game that ultimately let him down.

“I just was not finding first serves,” he said.

“In those crucial moments, I was giving him too many second serves and he was able to just swing freely.”

Despite the defeat, De Minaur sees his recent form, which includes wins over world number one Novak Djokovic as well as Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz at the United Cup, as quite promising.

“In due time I’ll take the three top-10 wins at the United Cup, I’ll take it as confidence,” De Minaur said.

“I’m playing some great tennis. It’s the start of the year.

“Importantly, if I can keep this level throughout the whole year, I’m quite confident that I’ll be able to finish where I want to.”