Andrey Rublev uses his strength to defeat the hometown favorite Alex de Minaur.

Estimated read time 5 min read

The Australian Open saw a disappointing end for local fans as No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev defeated Alex de Minaur in the last 16 round on a windy evening in Melbourne.

De Minaur had the advantage after winning sets two and three and appeared to have more energy than his opponent going into the fourth set. However, the Russian player stepped up his game and ultimately won the intense match on Sunday evening with a final score of 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0 after a grueling 4 hours and 14 minutes.

De Minaur’s loss in the fourth round marks his third consecutive year of exiting the tournament, and also prolongs the 48-year period since an Australian male has won their home grand slam.

De Minaur was unable to counter the increased aggression of one of the top hitters in world tennis during the fourth and fifth sets. This player put on a remarkable show of strength that left the 14,000 spectators in Rod Laver Arena speechless.

“He released his grip and began to swing, successfully making the shots. It was not a physical defeat, but rather my racquet being forcefully taken from me,” De Minaur stated. “He remained stationary, striking the ball from every corner of the court with incredible speed.”

Rublev stated that feeling tired caused him to alter his strategy. He explained, “I began to motivate myself to push through, thinking that I may not make it, but I will give my all. And miraculously, I began to perform at a higher level and discovered more stamina, ultimately leading me to victory.”

In the last set, the Russian hit nine winning shots and only made four mistakes, causing the Australian to lose his serve three times and leaving many spectators heartbroken. Despite later revealing he was in discomfort, he managed to achieve this feat.

“I was attempting to avoid dwelling on it, I was pushing myself,” he stated. “Don’t shed tears, don’t succumb to self-pity.”

The outcome of the match was unexpected considering the history between the players.

The Russian emerged victorious in three sets at last year’s Masters 1000 event in Paris, but the Australian had won three out of their five previous matches.

The game took place indoors, but before it began, the roof of Rod Laver Arena was opened due to a previous shower on Sunday. Despite the rain being cleared, the windy conditions persisted on the cool evening, causing Rublev’s hair to flutter and disrupting his ball toss.

In the opening game, the Russian player made two double faults. This caused the lively Rublev to react with intense gestures, throwing his racquet, shouting in frustration, and shaking his head as he struggled with both external and internal challenges.

He advised against being inside my mind at the moment, comparing it to a frightening film.

He maintained his position and his family history on the starting line was evident when he gained an advantage in the fourth game. Although the Australian caught up shortly after, Rublev’s abilities were the main factor in the match.

Rublev solidified his position in the top 10 rankings in 2020 and has consistently excelled on the tour ever since. His powerful forehand put significant pressure on his opponent from Australia, whose serve was only successful 53% of the time throughout the match. The crowd at Rod Laver Arena gasped in shock when a double fault on set point gave the advantage to the visiting player.

Pass over advertisement for newsletter.

Alex de Minaur

In the past month, De Minaur’s three wins against top-10 players demonstrate his current good performance, and his consistent determination was a clear difference from the flashy Russian.

He put in a lot of effort, along with some impressive shots, which helped him win the second set after a long 73 minutes. The most memorable moment was when he had to stretch down low around the net post to reach a forehand from Rublev that was heading towards the umpire’s chair.

This was possibly the best shot of the tournament thus far. The Australian continued to play well, winning a second tiebreak and taking a 2-1 lead in sets as the Russian’s outbursts became more frequent.

However, there was a surprise. Despite seeming to have limited mobility in the fourth set, Rublev began to play more aggressively and the Australian player was mostly left watching from the sidelines.

De Minaur stated that he had hoped to have the opportunity to outlast his opponent in the fifth set, but after playing a few mediocre points in the first game, his opponent responded with two strong shots.

“Unexpectedly, I fell behind and had to work harder to catch up. Then, he suddenly released.”

Rublev has never advanced beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam, even though he has made it to that stage nine times before. He confessed last year that the mental aspect of the game remains a constant challenge for him.

He is now facing Jannik Sinner, the No 4 seed who has yet to lose a set. The two have played six times before, with the Russian only winning twice. “He defeated me in our last match, so I’m not sure what to say,” he admitted. “It seems like I’m in a tough spot.”


You May Also Like

More From Author