Alex de Minaur has produced the biggest win of his fledgling career, downing world number one Novak Djokovic in straight sets at the United Cup.
- De Minaur won 6-4 6-4 in 93 minutes to give Australia a 1-0 lead in their quarter-final tie against Serbia
- Ajla Tomljanović beat Natalija Stevanovic to secure Australia a spot in the semi-finals
- The victory is de Minaur’s maiden win over a world No. 1
De Minaur was on fire from the outset of Wednesday night’s match in Perth, winning 6-4 6-4 in 93 minutes to give Australia a 1-0 lead in their quarter-final tie against Serbia.
“It’s extremely special. Novak is an unbelievable competitor,” de Minaur said after breaking the super Serbian’s 43-match, six-year winning streak in Australia.
“It feels surreal, it feels amazing. I’m happy to do it here in Perth and Australia.”
Ajla Tomljanović secured victory for Australia and a spot in the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-1 win over world number 184 Natalija Stevanovic in a 64-minute masterclass.
The higher-ranked Olga Danilovic was slated to play the women’s singles for Serbia, but pulled out due to fatigue.
Djokovic entered the match under an injury cloud, after damaging his wrist while practising on Tuesday morning.
The 24-time grand slam champion said the injury affected him during Wednesday night’s match, but he hopes it won’t impact his Australian Open campaign.
“It did have quite an impact (tonight), particularly on the forehand and serve,” Djokovic said.
“Again, I don’t want to be spending too much time talking about it and taking away credit from de Minaur.
“I mean, he was just very solid, as he always is. Congrats to him, to the Australian team.”
The 24-year-old’s frenetic speed and agility continually frustrated Djokovic, who committed a series of unforced errors throughout the match as he battled wrist pain.
Djokovic received treatment after being broken in the ninth game of the first set, but it did little to stem the de Minaur onslaught.
The Australian secured his second break of the match in the seventh game of the second set when Djokovic double faulted.
De Minaur had three match points at 40-0 and 5-4 up, but he blew each one, including with a double fault.
But he earned a fourth match point, and secured the win when Djokovic sent a backhand long.
Although de Minaur defeated Rafael Nadal at last year’s United Cup, the win over Djokovic is even more significant, given the 36-year-old is still at the peak of his powers after winning three of the four slams in 2024.
It represents de Minaur’s maiden win over a world number one.
De Minaur has spoken about his desire to be known as more than just a player who can move “side to side” well, and the use of his backhand slice during the United Cup has been a big weapon.
His powerful winners have also been a highlight.
“It comes from a lot of people not believing in me,” de Minaur said of his motivation to bring his new weapons to the fore.
“I’m just here to prove a lot of people wrong, trying to get better.
“Ultimately I’m never going to be the biggest or strongest guy, so I’ve got to adapt.
“I’ve got to show that I’ve got variety in my game and I’ve got different styles of playing tennis.
“I’m glad I was able to bring this level today.”
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