Home Australia A day after taking down veteran Nadal, de Minaur stumbles against French teen in Barcelona

A day after taking down veteran Nadal, de Minaur stumbles against French teen in Barcelona

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A day after taking down veteran Nadal, de Minaur stumbles against French teen in Barcelona

Just 24 hours after putting veteran warrior Rafael Nadal to the sword, Alex de Minaur may have felt a little old when he was felled by a new tennis sensation at the Barcelona Open.

The Australian number one was swept 7-5, 6-2 in his round of 16 tie against flamboyant teenager Arthur Fils, who is France’s great new hope to break a 41-year drought of Grand Slam victories in men’s soccer.

It was also a punishing day on the red clay for Australia’s number two Jordan Thompson at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona on Thursday as his bid to reach the quarter-finals was ruthlessly ended by the double Open finalist from France, Casper Ruud, who achieved a 6-1. Victory 6-4.

De Minaur had little time to savor his victory over Nadal, which could have been the great man’s farewell to one of his favorite tournaments and the center court that bears his name, while he rediscovered how quickly the landscape of tennis changes. .

At 25, Minaur’s world number 11 may be reaching his prime as a player, but, in the form of 19-year-old Fils’ professional boxer, there was evidence that the next generation of young tennis players is already available. to torment him.

Fils is number 36 in the world and is rising rapidly.

After being the hunter on the Rafa Nadal Court, de Miñaur found the quarry on the Andrés Gimeno Court when Fils, who had been 5-3 down in the first set and was being coached by the Australian, came to life to accumulate seven games in The rebound.

Finding himself a little overpowered and finding that drop shots that had proven too much for Nadal were punished by Fils’ blistering speed, it was only De Minaur’s famous fighting spirit that kept him in the match as the Frenchman’s army of fans I was on the court. I enjoyed it all with noisy abandon.

Trailing 5-1 in the second having lost nine of the previous 10 games, De Minaur showed defiance to fight back and then save a match point, but Fils were not denied victory and secured victory in one hour and 35 minutes. book a quarterfinal date against Serbian Dušan Lajović.

Thompson struggled with blisters on his racquet hand early on as he tried in vain to cope with the clean hitting of Norway’s Ruud, who took a 5-0 lead before the Australian number two could control him.

The Sydneysider put up more of a fight in the second stanza, but Ruud broke him for the third time before earning his 26th win of 2024, the most of any player this season, a lead over Jannik Sinner.

Australia’s hopes for the singles were done and dusted.


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