De Minaur cruises through to Brisbane semis
Brisbane International wildcard Alex De Minaur is through to his first ATP semifinal after dismantling American Michael Mmoh in impressive fashion.
His inspiration may be the NSW State of Origin team but teenage Australian wildcard Alex De Minaur has still emerged as a Brisbane International dark horse after again pulling off what few Blues teams can – a victory in Queensland.
Sydney-born, Spain-based De Minaur continued his fabulous run when he booked his first tour semi-final berth by overcoming American Michael Mmoh 6-4 6-0 at Pat Rafter Arena on Friday.
The 18-year-old world No.208 De Minaur uses a “Blue Wall” war cry to pump himself up during matches in a nod to his allegiance to NSW.
While the Blues haven’t had much luck – losing 11 of the past 12 Origin series – De Minaur has only had good fortune channelling them on court in Brisbane.
Perhaps even more remarkably, the dyed-in-the-wool Blues supporter has been embraced by the Queensland crowd.
“It’s a sport that I really got into it. And (fellow Aussie tour players) Jordan Thompson and Matt Reid really got me into it and the ‘Blue Wall’,” De Minaur said.
“I enjoy every second of it (Origin). It’s something to be proud of. I’m a proud New South Welshman.”
Appearing in their first tour quarter-final, De Minaur – ranked 33 spots lower than his opponent – outmuscled the 19-year-old Mmoh in the first set before cruising through the second in just 25 minutes.
New career high for De Minaur on Monday.
#165 with SF
#147 with F
#124 with W
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 5, 2018
He booked a semi-final against the winner of Friday night’s clash between Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin and American Ryan Harrison.
De Minaur backed up from his shock straight-sets second-round win over former world No.3 Milos Raonic.
“The best way to describe this is at the moment is I’m in this really good dream and I really don’t want to wake up – just disbelief, really,” De Minaur said.
“There were a lot of nerves coming into this match, it was a big opportunity for me.
“But I came in here a little more level headed (than Raonic match), had more time to play, and was able to play my best tennis.”
Really impressive work from 18 year old Alex De Minaur to reach his maiden ATP SF in Brisbane. So quick, great returning and he changes direction nicely with that really compact backhand. Also dictated well with his FH vs Mmoh.
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) January 5, 2018
With mentor Lleyton Hewitt screaming encouragement courtside, De Minaur saved three break points in the sixth game to find his range and clinch the first set in 49 minutes with a booming forehand winner.
The second set became a blur as De Minaur dominated, thrashing 17 total winners to Mmoh’s nine.
De Minaur – who has a Spanish mum and Uruguayan father – also feasted on Mmoh’s 26 unforced errors.
De Minaur – who speaks three languages – has spent the last three years living in Spain with his family after also being based there from age five to 13.
It ended a spirited run by Saudi Arabia-born and raised Mmoh, who is the son of a Nigerian former tennis player and an Irish-Australian nurse.