Australia’s Alex de Minaur has booked passage through to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the second successive year following a 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-1 victory over Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.
The 22nd seed was clinical as he amassed 33 winners in a blistering display that would be considered one of his finest matches at Melbourne Park.
Following a tense first set, the Sydney born star was unstoppable as he dropped just three games to fire up the Rod Laver Arena crowd.
de Minaur admits that he was unsure about what energy the crowd would bring but Middle Saturday certainly did not disappoint.
“It's amazing, as a kid growing up those are the stages you want to be playing on,” de Minaur said.
“I've had the incredible luck and opportunity to play on that court, and I've played it in different matches.
“Today I played the third day match and there's been day matches where the court isn't as full and I wasn't sure what to expect.
“To see a packed Rod Laver Arena was pretty special. It's always good to see the Mexican wave going, seeing them genuinely excited to see me play.
“It's one of those moments where you just gotta pinch yourself and stay in the moment.”
de Minaur’s performance sent a message to the rest of the field as he managed to dismantle Bonzi with his elite speed and depth of shots, with the 23-year-old admitting that these are the performances he must display consistently if he wants to contend in the second week at majors.
“I think ultimately if you want to go deep, and you want to really take it to the best players in the world, that's the game plan,” de Minaur said.
“You've got to step it up and it's no secret that against the best in the world you can't just put the ball in the court and wait for them to miss because that's just not gonna happen.
“It is a conscious effort, but I think today I did what I needed to do and got the job done, so we move on and I’m happy with that.”
The Australian will have his work cut out for him in the fourth round, with either nine-time champion Novak Djokovic or 2017 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov to stand on the other side of the net.
While the opponent might be fierce, de Minaur is ecstatic to be given the opportunity to take on whichever of the pair.
“These are the matches you want to be playing. You don't want a walkover into the final of a slam and you want to be playing the best in the world.
“That's what I've got and I'm gonna probably have the best in the world in front of me, and I'm ready for the battle,” he added.
“I want to take it to them and show what I'm made of in the biggest of stages and just test myself out there.”