Australian men’s No. 1 Alex de Minaur put on a show at the ATP Cup in Sydney, coming from a set down to defeat Ugo Humbert for the first time in his career.
Jordan Thompson and Alexei Popyrin suffered contrasting fates in their Melbourne Summer Set matches, whilst there was some success in the doubles for the Australian women.
Adelaide International (WTA)
Wimbledon quarter-finalist and Australian women’s No. 2 Ajla Tomljanovic tackled her hottest assignment of the Australian summer so far, with a clash against star American Sofia Kenin.
The Aussie went up a break in the first set with a terrific forehand return off the 12th-ranked Kenin’s serve. The players would continue to trade breaks before Tomljanovic took the first set 6-3 in a blistering stroke display.
On a cold night at Memorial Drive, light drizzle continually interrupted the second set as the ball kids were instructed to dry the lines by the umpire on a number of occasions.
The 2020 Australian Open champion dropped her serve with the score at 4-3 down in the third, opening the door for Tomljanovic. But it was Kenin who broke back instantly to keep herself in the contest.
Tomljanovic wasted three match points, and it was Kenin who eventually took the second set in a tiebreaker.
Kenin showed her class in the third set, after both players traded breaks of serve, to win a three-set encounter, 3-6 7-6(5) 6-3.
The American will play world No. 1 Ash Barty in a quarter-final on Friday afternoon.
Priscilla Hon found it tough going in Adelaide against dual Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka on Thursday afternoon. The 263rd-ranked Hon battled admirably before eventually yielding to a 6-3 7-5 loss against the higher-ranked Belarussian. Azarenka will now face fifth seed Iga Swiatek in the quarter-final.
Ash Barty and Storm Sanders are through to the Adelaide International doubles semi-final via a walkover after Kiwi Erin Routliffe and Canada’s Leylah Fernandez withdrew from the tournament.
Priscilla Hon and Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz resumed in their clash against Shelby Rogers and Heather Watson after rain ended play early last night. The match resumed with the Australian pair one set down, and they showed some serious fight in the second set but eventually lost, 6-2 7-5.
Adelaide International (ATP)
Thanasi Kokkinakis will face Mikael Ymer from Sweden tomorrow in a quarter-final matchup after last night’s come-from-behind win over American fourth-seed Francis Tiafoe. There is also one Australian pairing remaining in the doubles, with Aleksandar Vukic and Edward Winter to face fourth-seeds Tomislav Brkic and Santiago Gonzalez for a spot in the semi-final.
Australian No. 2 James Duckworth came up against French No. 2 Arthur Rinderknech. Despite some resistance, the Frenchman looked comfortable as he took the first set.
Duckworth would have six break points in a marathon sixth game of the second set but was unable to convert. Showing his characteristic fight, Duckworth could not secure an all-important break, as the pair played out a close tiebreaker.
Eventually, it was the 58th-ranked Frenchman who claimed the win, in straight-sets, 6-4 7-6(6).
Next up, it was Australia’s top-ranked men’s player Alex de Minaur against French No. 1 Ugo Humbert.
The 34th-ranked de Minaur was looking to bounce back following a close loss to Daniil Medvedev in Australia’s second ATP Cup tie.
The Australian dropped his serve to make the score 4-2, and failed to generate his own break points throughout the first set, missing a solitary chance to break in the first game. The left-handed Humbert took the first set, 6-3.
The second set reached a tiebreaker, as de Minaur continually garnered energy in his corner from Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt, a man famous for grit, determination and a never-say-die attitude that is now being instilled in the 22-year-old.
The crowd were electric as de Minaur took the match into a third set with a dominant tiebreak win.
De Minaur came out with all guns blazing in the final set, romping home to a 3-6 7-6 6-1 win at Ken Rosewall Arena.
Speaking after the match, de Minaur said he was thrilled to be playing in Sydney.
“This is home. This is where I grew up. This is my home tournament. My home tennis centre,” he said as the crowd cheered.
“The atmosphere is always unbelievable… Thank you guys (the crowd) for making it amazing.”
The Aussie was full of praise for his French opponent, and spoke of his own will to dig deep.
“Ugo was playing some unbelievable tennis, he’s a very high level player. I just had to stick in there, keep pushing myself and get the crowd going,” he said to Jim Courier.
Looking ahead to the Australian Open, de Minaur could barely contain his excitement of playing a home slam.
“I’m feeling great. I’m feeling in the best shape I’ve felt in my career,” he said.
‘I’m ready to go.”
John Peers and Luke Saville completed a marathon comeback to defeat Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin after midnight.
With the score tied at one set each, it would be the French pairing who had three match points in the super tiebreak.
The Australian duo would win the next five points to complete a remarkable comeback, 6-2 5-7 (11-9).
The win means Australia defeated France by two matches to one, putting the men from down under at second in their group.
More Tennis News
Melbourne Summer Set (ATP)
Alexei Popyrin has missed the opportunity to take on Rafael Nadal in the final eight of the Melbourne Summer Set. Following a strong win on Wednesday, the world No. 61 came unstuck against the Netherlands’ Tallon Griekspoor. The Aussie only managed to take one of eight available break points off Griekspoor, which was the difference as the world No. 65 booked his spot to play the first seed, 6-3 4-6 6-3.
Following yesterday’s win over compatriot Chris O’Connell, Jordan Thompson faced Emil Ruusuvuori in a tricky encounter. The 95th-ranked Fin took the first set 7-6(3). The 75th-ranked Australian fell behind by a break in the second set before fighting back to take it. Thompson went down a break in the third set and was unable to fight back, losing the match, 7-6(3) 5-7 6-3.
Eighth seeds Matt Reid and Jordan Thompson were bundled out of the doubles with a tough three-set loss to Mexican Hans Hach Verdugo and Italian Stefano Travaglia on Rod Laver Arena. The Aussie pairing fought bravely and pushed the match to three sets before eventually going down, 7-5 4-6 (10-5).
Melbourne Summer Set #1 (WTA)
There was a huge upset in the doubles at the Melbourne Summer Set, with wildcards Destanee Aiava and Lizette Cabrera defeating fourth seeds Greet Minnen and Ellen Perez. The Aussie duo now move into the semi-final after their dominant 6-3 6-4 victory.
Melbourne Summer Set #2 (WTA)
There were two pairings involving an Australian and Chinese player battling it out on Thursday. Samantha Stosur and Shuai Zhang came up against Monique Adamczak and Xinyun Han in their Melbourne Summer Set quarter-final. The experienced pair of Stosur and Zhang secured a comfortable win after a close first set, 7-5 6-2.
Astra Sharma and Swiss partner Viktorija Golubic moved into the final eight of the Melbourne Summer Set. Playing against Romanian Irina Bara and Ekaterinburg Gorgodze from Georgia, the pair ran out 5-7 6-4 (12-10) winners.
Arina Rodionova and Dutch partner Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove were bundled out by second seeds Bernarda Pera and Katerina Siniakova in a super tiebreak.
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