On a day when countrymen Thanaski Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin and Christopher O’Connell all departed to scale back the host nation’s Australian Open contingent, de Minaur confirmed precisely why he’s seeded for this match and why he already has a title in his kitbag in 2021 – he gained in Turkey in January, the fourth title of his promising profession.
“Rattling it feels good to be again right here in Australia,” de Minaur stated in his on-court interview.
“I’m very proud of how I maintained my focus by the match.
“I performed some nice high quality tennis.”
De Minaur will take pleasure in subsequent assembly an opponent who did it laborious on Thursday night time. Italian Fabio Fognini is thru after a four-hour, five-set tussle in opposition to his countryman Salvatore Caruso.
De Minaur set the tone for the match with a brisk 36-minute opening set. The Uruguayan, who was thrown into laborious quarantine upon his arrival in Australia, had solely himself guilty for being behind the eight-ball, responsible of 17 unforced errors.
The Australian broke within the fifth sport and the opening set, and successfully the match, was his from there.
The fifth sport of the second set was decisive, too, after de Minaur moved to a Four-1 lead. He shrugged off a break level and saved the momentum.
Then, within the remaining set with the Australian steaming in the direction of victory, Cuevas began swinging extra freely and, immediately, de Minaur felt a contact of stress.
It was momentary and, in due time, the three-set triumph was accomplished.
Nick Kyrgios will rightly entice the Friday night time highlight in opposition to US Open champion Dominic Thiem. On the opposite half of the draw, it’s de Minaur quietly getting issues finished. He might be on a path for a fourth-round showdown with Rafael Nadal, a stage of the match final yr the place the world No.2 needed to do a lot to see off the Kyrgios problem.
De Minaur was daring and courageous in opposition to Nadal 12 months in the past. One other shot on the grand slam champion would possibly but be across the nook.
On John Cain Enviornment, Fognini edged Salvadore Four-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-Three, 7-6 (12).
Most notably, nonetheless, was the fireworks between the 2 Italians not lengthy after the ultimate level. For 2 gamers who’d gone toe to toe for video games on finish, it’s a surprise that they had the vitality.
Scott Spits is a sports activities reporter for The Age