Berdych halts de Minaur’s march
Aussie teenager de Minaur soared to the Sydney International final last week.
Alex de Minaur’s magical month is over after the teen sensation was sent packing from the Australian Open by veteran Czech Tomas Berdych in four sets.
Berdych, the 19th seed, played spoil-sport on Hisense Arena on Tuesday night, defeating the promising baseliner 6-3 3-6 6-0 6-1 in their first-round meeting.
“Very tough match. He’s a very high-level player with lots of experience. I knew it was going to be a very tough match coming in,” said the home charge.
“But I’m happy with the effort I put in and the fight. I managed to get that set. But then he was just too good for me. He blew me off the court. I left it all out there, but it wasn’t enough.”
De Minaur soared to the Sydney International final last week and reached the last four in Brisbane – just the sixth and seventh tour-level events he’d played.
Against Berdych – the second-highest player he’s ever faced – he was on the back foot from the get-go.
His fighting qualities won out in the second set, turning the tables on the six-time Melbourne Park quarter-finalist, but he ran out of steam to lose in two hours and five minutes.
“For his age, he’s pretty impressive,” Berdych said after the match.
“If I saw myself and compare to him, I was nowhere near.
“He’s a young guy coming up. He’s hungry. Moving great. A big fighter … that was not an easy one for the first round.”
Despite the first-hurdle defeat at Melbourne Park, de Minaur is buoyed by his recent flourishing form and has set a 2018 target for the campaign ahead.
“It’s just been crazy. Extremely proud of what I’ve been able to do the last couple of weeks. Even today, I try to base myself on leaving it out on court every time I step on it. That’s what I did,” added the teenager. “I put my goal to be top 100 by the end of the year. I’m going to do everything in my power to reach that goal.
“It was crazy to have all the support I’ve had, as well. I mean, playing on Hisense Arena in front of a packed crowd, they’re all behind you pretty much every single point, it’s just something special. I’m just so thankful for that.”