De Minaur claims first Masters win at Indian Wells
Alex De Minaur produces a trademark gritty performance to set up a second-round meeting with Juan Martin del Potro. He was the only Aussie winner on Friday at Indian Wells.
Alex De Minaur came from behind to record a stirring first Masters 1000 victory on Friday night over Jan-Lennard Struff.
The Australian wildcard, just 19 years of age, won 3-6 7-6(3) 7-6(5) to set up a second-round showdown with sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro.
“That’s what I think about every time I go out there on court, to leave it all out there, every point,” the teenager told atpworldtour.com.
“No matter the result and no matter how I’m playing or whatever happens, you know, just to go out there and give 150 per cent.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 10, 2018
De Minaur was initially blown away by Struff’s power and attack. But as the match unfolded, the Aussie settled.
After levelling the match at a set apiece, De Minaur broke in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead and had several chances in an epic eighth game to extended that lead to 5-3.
But Struff broke back and moved ahead 5-4.
De Minaur held firm on serve and the set progressed to a tiebreak, where De Minaur initially trailed 2-0 only to rattle off five straight points to take command.
Struff kept attacking the net to put pressure on the young Aussie but was frequently flummoxed; somewhat aptly, he dumped a final volley into the net to hand De Minaur victory in two hours, 34 minutes.
De Minaur’s victory salvaged what was shaping as a forgettable day for the green and gold.
No.16 seed Ash Barty fell 6-4 6-2 to inspired Greek opponent Maria Sakkari, shortly before Nick Kyrgios announced an elbow injury had forced him to pull out of the tournament.
Earlier, Sam Stosur and Matt Ebden exited the joint WTA/ATP tournament, both falling in straight sets to French opposition.
Stosur fought hard but fell 7-5 7-5 to No.14 seed Kristina Mladenovic, who goes on to face China’s Wang Qiang in the third round.
Stosur came into the match with a 4-0 winning head-to-head record over Mladenovic, but found the resurgent Frenchwoman too strong on Friday afternoon (local time).
Stosur then combined with Daria Gavrilova in doubles, only to lose 6-2 6-1 to No.1 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Ebden went down 6-3 6-3 to Gael Monfils on the tournament’s Stadium 1 court.
Monfils, a former world No.6, had beaten Ebden in their only prior meeting eight years ago at the Australian Open, and again got the better of the Aussie in the Californian desert.
Monfils will in the second round play 15th seed John Isner.