Italy has fallen victim to another defeat at the hands of Alex De Minaur, this time with Flavio Cobolli at the receiving end.
Rod Laver Arena was the designated venue for De Minaur’s first two matches this week, but it was John Cain Arena who played host yet another energetic home crowd atmosphere.
The first set provided an indication that a baseline tussle would be the theme for most of the encounter, and that’s exactly what transpired with some ripping rallies.
After conceding the break that he worked so hard to gain, the Australian hopeful responded as top 10 players do, snatching back the break of serve and closing out the opener in style.
To Cobolli’s credit, the 21-yer-old stayed toe-toe-toe with his opponent, desperate to cling onto his service game at 1-1 in the second set as De Minaur required nine break point opportunities and eight deuces to finally pull away with further momentum with a two set lead.
The Italian showcased his craft through utilising drop shots and approaching the net when necessary, but the match was always on De Minaur’s racquet since the first minute.
Despite a fiercely contested battle for the majority of the match, the Aussie 10th seed demonstrated too much firepower and experience to handle in the end, claiming a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory in two hours and seven minutes in a more competitive match than what the scoreboard suggests.
The Australian touched on his physical shape having survived the tournament without dropping a set so far in the post match press conference.
“[I’m] feeling the freshest I’ve been at this stage of the tournament,” said De Minaur. “Obviously I got a little lucky with Milos [Raonic] pulling out. Then I played two straight-sets wins that weren’t too long. Physically I’m feeling great [and] now it’s just about giving all my energy for what’s to come.”
De Minaur will now face fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the fourth round scheduled for Sunday. who defeated 29th seed Sebastian Korda 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-4 last night.
Meanwhile the other Aussie in action Storm Hunter came within two games of shocking 9th seed Barbora Krejčíková, but finally went down in a valiant defeat also in the third round in the early hours of this morning.
The world No 180 pushed the former French Open singles champion to her limit in the second set, but Krejčíková quelled the insurgence and prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two and a half hours.