De Minaur channels Hewitt for debut AO win
From match point down on Australian Open debut, De Minaur put on a staggering display to topple world No.81 Gerald Melzer 5-7 6-3 2-6 7-6(2) 6-1.
“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. Definitely the happiest moment of my life,” said an ecstatic Alex De Minaur.
From match point down on Australian Open debut, De Minaur put on a staggering display to topple world No.81 Gerald Melzer in an absorbing 5-7 6-3 2-6 7-6(2) 6-1 encounter.
Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt was in the stands to witness the victory, and the teenager pulled off a ‘Rusty’-like comeback on home soil.
“Obviously I watched a lot of his matches. That’s something I admire from him. I was really happy that I could do that today. Coming with my first five-set win. I wouldn’t have rather done it anywhere else.”
The Aussie teenager was resolute in defence, staving off six break points until Melzer broke at 5-5 to clinch a punishing opening set in the searing Melbourne sun.
Falling immediately behind, the 17-year-old responded well with the ardent home support behind him to rattle through the second set.
Melzer proved his prowess at the net, succeeding nine of 11 times, to quickly move in front 6-2 to wrestle back the initiative.
The Austrian maintained his advantage until serving for a second round spot at 5-4. De Minaur went for broke, saved a match point and dragged his opponent into a tiebreak.
Show Court 3 erupted as the Aussie won five consecutive points to force a one-set shootout.
De Minaur was motoring through serve as Melzer’s ambitions wilted. After close to four hours, the Aussie held his arms aloft as a winner, walking over to his most raucous fans to take a couple of selfies.
“The Fanatics were unbelievable. I never felt such an unbelievable experience with a crowd,” added De Minaur, who progresses to take on the towering Sam Querrey. “They were loud the whole match. I’m pretty sure they got me through that match.”