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Alex de Minaur blazes through to fourth round

Australia's Alex De Minaur celebrates victory against Italy's Flavio Cobolli.

Australia's Alex De Minaur celebrates victory against Italy's Flavio Cobolli. Photo: Getty

Alex de Minaur – the first Aussie man since Hewitt in 2006 to gate-crash the world’s top 10 – will play the winner of Friday’s late clash between American Sebastian Korda and Russian Andrey Rublev.

That showdown is scheduled for Sunday night with de Minaur aiming for his first quarter-final berth at Melbourne Park.

After claiming three top-10 scalps – including top-ranked Novak Djokovic – at the season-opening United Cup the local favourite won’t be fazed by facing world No.5 Rublev.

Adding more power to his blistering pace, de Minaur has evolved from the player who fell to Djokovic and current world No.4 Jannik Sinner in straight sets in the past two years of the Open.

The Australian wrapped up the first set with an ace, taking just 39 minutes, while the second was a tougher contest despite the same scoreline, with de Minaur needing 57 minutes to take a two-set lead.

Making his Open debut and playing in just his second ever grand slam world No.100 Cobolli didn’t play too badly but the 21-year-old was unable to match de Minaur when it mattered.

Having played his first two rounds in the main stadium Rod Laver Arena, De Minaur said he took time to adjust to the raucous John Cain Arena.

“I struggled a bit to find my rhythm throughout the match but I stayed in the moment, stayed composed and it worked out in the end,” the 24-year-old said.

“The atmosphere over here is something else. I enjoyed every second of it but it is a little bit different to RLA and it took a little bit to get used to.

“It felt a bit slower and I was over-hitting at stages, [I] wasn’t quite finding my timing but we move on, and on to the next round.”

Whoever he played next a fresh de Minaur, who has only dropped one set in three matches, said he would approach the fourth round with confidence.

“It’s all going to come down to the level I bring in the following match,” the Sydneysider said.

“I’ve got to back myself up, I’ve got to believe, got to play positive tennis.

“I know the whole crowd is going to be behind me and am going to enjoy every second of it.”

– AAP

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