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Big-hitting Argentine overpowers Alex de Minaur at French Open

Australian No.1 Alex De Minaur en route to losing his second-round match at the French Open.

Australian No.1 Alex De Minaur en route to losing his second-round match at the French Open. Photo: AP

Alex de Minaur’s hopes of venturing further than ever before at the French Open have been ruthlessly dismantled by big-hitting Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

On the warmest morning of the championships in Paris, Australia’s No.1 encountered a rising clay court star in the hottest of form as Etcheverry ousted the Sydneysider 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-3.

Not for the first time in his battling career, de Minaur found himself faced with an adversary who had too much firepower as his ambition to reach the third round in Paris for the first time in seven attempts foundered in the sunshine on court 14.

As usual, there was nothing wrong with the 18th seed’s heart as he scrapped valiantly on Thursday, particularly in saving four set points in the second stanza.

Yet he was constantly scurrying on the back foot against the powerful Etcheverry, who looks one to watch after reaching three clay court finals already this season.

The pair had not met since their junior days since when the 23-year-old Etcheverry has sprouted to 1.96m and he packed too much of a punch for the slight figure who’s one year his senior, cracking 24 winners and forcing 41 errors from de Minaur.

After starting brightly, de Minaur had three break points to go up 4-3 but once the Argentine had repelled them, he cashed in to run away with the set, and from then on put pressure on the Australian with his superior weight of shot.

De Minaur, coming up with some dazzling shots under the cosh, worked wonders to save three set points at 5-6 and break back to take the second stanza into a tiebreak, but too many careless errors – he made 53 unforced mistakes throughout the match – soon left Etcheverry in complete control.

When de Minaur clocked a forehand wide in the fourth game of the third set, the writing was on the wall and, after two hours 45 minutes when the Australian hit a backhand long, Etcheverry could celebrate reaching the third round of a slam for the first time.

It won’t be the last.

With Thanasi Kokkinakis already having booked his place in the last 32 with his epic five-set win over Stan Wawrinka, Max Purcell was the last Australian hope to join him as he tackled Japan’s No.27 seed Yoshihito Nishioka in another second-round contest.

-AAP

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