12 Individual Australians stepped out Thursday on tour and 3 of them came away with a W next to their name.
Alex De Minaur our number 1 Aussie male has done a mighty job to rise to the top 30 of men’s professional tennis and for a brief stint in the top 20, peaking at #18, but there is no doubt the road ahead to climb higher presents a great challenge.
We love what the Demon brings to the tennis court – skill, speed, tenacity, an unbelievable competitiveness, which makes him a tough opponent to get past, but the calibre of opponent in front of him is very very good.
Overnight he fell to a 0-5 H2H against fellow Next Generation star Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3 at the Barcelona Open. Once again, he was right in the contest, but all it took was one break of serve in the first set and the inform Greek was the front runner in the match.
When your landing 70% first serves, and winning 76% of points on the first serve, your going to be tough to wear down. Alex did employ the drop shot to great effect throughout the match but Tsitipas was relentless from the back court and equally adept in the front court.
The Monte Carlo Masters champion last week is on a 7 match winning streak and will play fellow young gun Felix Auger Aliassime in the quarters who got past compatriot Denis Shapovalov comfortably. It is a fascinating watch as to who might be the best of the best of mate Canadians in the long run.
Italian Jannik Sinner was too good for Roberto Bautista Agut once again, through to play Andrey Rublev who is where we expect him to be in the last 8 of the ATP 500 tournaments. Schwartzman/Carreno Busta will be another quarter final, while the king of clay Rafael Nadal dropped a set again after a perfect start against Kei Nishikori in his search for a 12th Barcelona title, but rebounded strongly to prevail 6-0, 2-6, 6-2. Next he will face fellow leftie Cam Norrie, with David Goffin having to retire injured in their match.
Back to the Aussies, John Peers and Luke Saville went out in straight sets in Barcelona in their quarter final, while at the Serbia Open John Millman and Alexei Popyrin exited the Novak Tennis Centre. Millman couldn’t sustain his great start claiming the first set against the lucky loser Taro Daniel who fought back to book a spot in the last 8.
A little time after Millman and JP Smith went down in their doubles quarter final while for Popyrin it was a frustrating day with his first serve percentage not where it needed to be, succumbing to Italian (one of 10 inside the top 100) Gianluca Mager.
Mager’s opponent will be Australian Open giant slayer Aslan Karatsev who had a hard fought win over Alijaz Bedene.
At the ATP Challenger in Rome, the one Aussie left in the singles draw Bernard Tomic lost 6-3, 6-3 to 287th ranked Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva.
In Tallahassee in Florida, Matt Ebden who is just playing doubles this week lost a tight quarter final with his partner Dennis Novikov in the match tie break.
On the women’s side Ash Barty was on doubles duty at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart winning through to the semi finals with Jennifer Brady.
Her singles opponent was confirmed for a last 8 match up, with Karolina Pliskova coming from a set down to see off the hard hitting Jelena Ostapenko. The duo will play later tonight AEST. It was a Thursday in the German city where 2nd seed Simona Halep, 4th seed Elina Svitolina and 5th seed Aryna Sabalenka all advanced with Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova upsetting 8th seed Belinda Bencic.
At the WTA 250 in Istanbul, top seed Elise Mertens locked in a quarter final spot as did recent Charleston winner Veronika Kudermetova.
Back to the Aussie front again, Sydneysider Seone Menndez continued her fine week at the W25 Oeiras, Portugal ITF Tournament winning through to the singles quarter finals and doubles semi finals.
18 year old Queenslander Olivia Gadecki also reached the last 4 in Antayla Turkey in the doubles, while fellow Queenslander Tina Nadine Smith went down in her 2nd round singles match, having come from qualifying in Cairo.
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