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Alex de Minaur downs Carlos Alcaraz in latest boost before Australian Open

Alex de Minaur won the grudge match with Andrey Rublev in Rotterdam.

Alex de Minaur won the grudge match with Andrey Rublev in Rotterdam. Photo: Getty

Alex de Minaur is urging to home fans to “bring the noise” after adding Spanish wunderkind Carlos Alcaraz to his growing list of prized pre-Australian scalps.

A near-capacity crowd almost raised the roof at Rod Laver Arena while celebrating de Minaur’s electrifying exhibition win over the world No.2 and reigning Wimbledon champion on Wednesday night.

Although de Minaur won’t receive any rankings points for the 6-4 5-7 10-3 victory in a thrilling match tiebreaker, Australia’s great Open hope will have gained immeasurable confidence after taking down another of tennis’s true giants.

“Yeah, look, I’m extremely happy. My level is in a good spot coming into Melbourne,” de Minaur said after following up victories last week over 10-time Melbourne Park champion Novak Djokovic and world No.6 Alexander Zverev with a first-time defeat of Alcaraz, the Open’s second seed.

“I’ve had a good 2024. It’s been very good to me, so hopefully I can keep it going.”

De Minaur has now notched nine wins over top-10 rivals in the past 12 months and will head to the Open dreaming big ahead of the season’s first grand slam starting on Sunday.

“I heard a a pretty good quote: ‘How big would you dream if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ So that’s kind of been the motto,” the 24-year-old said.

‘”I’m pushing myself every day and hopefully the sky’s the limit.”

The fan favourite and first Australian since his idol Lleyton Hewitt in 2006 to crack the world’s top 10 is hoping the home fans can energise him at the Open in the same way they helped his now-Davis Cup captain to the 2005 final in Melbourne.

“I mean, the louder, the better,” he said.

“I wanna feel all the energy. I’m doing my best for you guys every time and, yeah, let’s bring the noise.”

Wednesday night’s match may have been for charity but the fist pumping, cursing and intensity from both combatants suggested neither of the two fierce competitors wanted to lose.

Playing is first match of the summer, Alcaraz could have been forgiven for calling an early night after trailing by a set and 4-1.

Instead he raised his game to break de Minaur twice to snatch the second set and force the match tiebreaker.

De Minaur, too, could have easily rolled over after suffering the disappointment of blowing a second-set match point.

Instead, he struck back to seal victory with the point of the match with a curling top-spin lob that Alcaraz could barely get a touch to.

Despite the defeat, 20-year-old Alcaraz said the exhibition outing offered him the perfect platform to launch his Open assault on Sunday.

“There’s not a better way to, let’s say, warm up or get ready than playing against Alex in this match,” he said.

“I was on course, so I think I’m getting ready.”

-AAP

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