French Open: Alex de Minaur beats Daniil Medvedev to march into quarter-finals

Estimated read time 3 min read

Alex de Minaur has broken new ground in his flourishing career, dismantling one of the game’s powerhouses Daniil Medvedev to become the first Australian man to make the French Open quarter-finals in two decades.

The slight Sydneysider with the big heart and electric speed came from a set down on Monday to defeat the fifth seed and former US Open champion Medvedev 4-6 6-2 6-1 6-3 to make it to just his second quarter-final in a grand slam.

And a measure of the magnitude of his achievement is that in the last 42 years, only Hewitt twice (2001 and 2004) and Pat Rafter (1997), among Australian men, have progressed this far on the clay of Roland Garros.

Those two were both grand slam winners and became world No 1s, and this win had a feel of a major breakthrough for the indefatigable de Minaur, the world No 11 who had lost all six of his previous grand slam matches against top-five players.

Medvedev had knocked out de Minaur in last year’s US Open and held a 6-2 head-to-head advantage over him but on the clay the Russian has never enjoyed, it was the Australian who employed all the key moves to set up a last-eight date with either Olympic champion Alexander Zverev or Denmark’s 13th seed Holger Rune.

Too fast, too inventive, too attacking, he overcame a nervy start to grow in confidence and reduced the man who has featured in six grand slam finals to frustration as he constantly pierced Medvedev’s famed defence with 51 searing winners.

The sun came out for the first time this tournament on the Court Suzanne Lenglen and Di Minaur staged a dazzling turnaround after Medvedev, who had never got past the quarter-final at Roland Garros, had him on the back foot at the start.

Alex de Minaur shakes hands with Russia's Daniil Medvedev after winning their fourth round match.View image in fullscreen

Medvedev missed out on four break points in the opening game but cashed in when de Minaur double-faulted to grab the break that ultimately sealed the opener.

Cleverly varying the pace and height of his groundstrokes, Medvedev gave the Australian no rhythm to work with, and de Minaur’s early work was strangely mistake-riddled, as he dished up 19 unforced errors.

More aggressive in the second, de Minaur took the initiative, but the match really appeared to change after the Russian took a medical timeout mid-set for a blistered foot.

When he resumed, de Minaur rocked Medvedev with a searing backhand crosscourt winner that set up his first break with the Russian offering only a dismal drop shot in response.

It was the prelude to an extraordinary sequence of seven straight games for the Australian, as his game flowered in the sunshine, full of variety, including some artful lobs that had Medvedev for the first time really floundering.

De Minaur raced into a 3-0 lead in the third set, cheered in the stands by the young lad he said had given him life with his passionate cries during his victory over Jan-Lennard Struff, before seizing it 6-1.

When Medvedev, having lost 11 of the previous 12 games, finally got back on the board at the start of the fourth, breaking de Minaur, it appeared he was less dispirited and could rally, but the Aussie kept up the pressure as one thunderous inside-out forehand earned him the final key break for a 5-3 lead.


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