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De Minaur: I’m Absolutely Devastated

“It’s not a match that I thought I lost physically,” Aussie No. 1 said after a four hour, 14-minute AO loss to Andrey Rublev.

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Sunday, January 21, 2024

Elated Aussie fans erupted in a wall of sound as home hero Alex de Minaur squared off against Andrey Rublev for a dramatic fifth set on Rod Laver Arena

A ruthless Rublev battered barriers, silenced fans and unleashed a major celebration of his own.

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World No. 5 Rublev rolled through seven straight games fending off Australian No. 1 de Minaur 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0 in a four hour, 14-minute Australian Open fourth-round clash that left de Minaur feeling “devastated.”

The explosive Rublev denied de Minaur’s bid to become just the third Aussie man in the last 20 years—after Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and Nick Kyrgios in 2015—to reach the AO round of 16.

“Maybe a couple years ago or even last year I would be sitting here, maybe even happy with the result, saying, I probably shouldn’t have won, he’s higher ranked than I am, I took him to five sets, pretty decent effort,” said de Minaur afterward. “But it’s completely changed because now I’m sitting here and I’m absolutely devastated because I saw it as a great opportunity and a match that I strongly believed I could have won. But it just slipped away.”

Former junior world No. 1 Rublev rocketed through eight straight points to start the deciding set and never looked back.

It is Rublev’s 300th Tour-level match victory as he snapped a five-match losing streak vs. Top 10 opponents.

Rublev advanced to his third AO quarterfinal and 10th Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The hard-hitting Rublev seeks to shatter an ignominious 0-9 lifetime major quarterfinal mark when he faces No. 4-seeded fellow red-head Jannik Sinner for a semifinal spot.

The 10th-ranked de Minaur, who tuned up for the Australian Open stunning world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the United Cup, said this defeat will sting for a while. De Minaur hit more winners (45 to 39), won more net points (26 to 16) and earned more break points (16 to 13) than Rublev only to see the Russian rip his AO dreams to shreds with a dominant fifth set performance.

“It’s tough because I thought he was hurting physically in the third and in the fourth. He just let go,” de Minaur said. “He started swinging. The balls went in.

“It’s not a match that I thought I lost physically. It was just that the racquet was taken out of my hand. Got to a stage where I just could not get him moving or expose that movement.

“He was just standing and hitting from every single part of the court at just mach 10. That’s probably the most disappointing part of the whole match.”

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty

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