Melbourne, Australia, 9 February 2021 | Leigh Rogers

Australia’s Alex de Minaur has handled a tricky opening-round assignment at Australian Open 2021 with aplomb.

The No.21 seed recorded a 7-5 6-1 6-1 victory over American Tennys Sandgren at John Cain Arena this evening, subduing the two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist in one hour and 48 minutes.

World No.51 Sandgren entered this match with an imposing 4-1 win-loss record against seeded opponents at Melbourne Park. His only loss was to Roger Federer in last year’s quarterfinals, beaten in a five-set battle after holding seven match points.

But against De Minaur today, it was a different story.

The match was tight early, with only a single break in the opening set. It was De Minaur who struck first, breaking in the 12th game to take the set.

The 21-year-old Australian was dominating on his own service games, conceding only six points in the opening set and preventing Sandgren from building any rhythm.

De Minaur carried his momentum into the second set, hitting eight winners and committing just two unforced errors to take a two-sets-to-love lead.

“I was able to get through the first set nerves and loosen up a bit and play some of my best tennis,” De Minaur said.

An increasingly frustrated Sandgren had no answers against the world No.23, who signalled he’s one to watch this fortnight with a solid performance.

“It’s honestly amazing to be back here in Melbourne, playing in front of my home crowd. There’s nothing I love more and I’ve genuinely missed it,” said De Minaur, who finished the match with 27 winners and 19 unforced errors.

“I’m happy to be in the second round. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

De Minaur, who next plays world No.72 Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay, continues the impressive start for Australian men at this year’s tournament.

Eight Australians have advanced to the second round at this year’s Australian Open, with De Minaur joined by Nick Kyrgios, James Duckworth, Alexei Popyrin, Christopher O’Connell, Alex Bolt, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Bernard Tomic. It is the most Aussie men to reach this stage since 2003.

“It’s amazing to see,” De Minaur noted of the Australian success. “We’ve got Chris O’Connell beating his first top 40 or 50 opponent in Jan-Lennard Struff, who played an unbelievable ATP Cup. We’ve got Popyrin, who just beat Goffin. I mean, I think it’s truly exciting.

“Us Aussies, we always seem to play really well here in Australia. Now it’s time to kind of hopefully take this momentum with us and go conquer the world.”

> READ: O’Connell scores career-first top-50 win 

> READ: Popyrin saves four match points to advance


Aussies in action – day two results

Men’s singles, first round
[21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Tennys Sandgren (USA) 7-5 6-1 6-1
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-4 6-1 6-1
[WC] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) d Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 7-6(2) 7-6(5) 6-1
[WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d [13] David Goffin (BEL) 3-6 6-4 6-7(4) 7-6(6) 6-3
[19] Karen Khachanov (RUS) d [WC] Aleksandar Vukic 6-3 6-7(4) 7-6(2) 6-4
[24] Casper Ruud (NOR) d Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3 6-3 2-1 ret.
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d [WC] Li Tu (AUS) 6-7(1) 6-4 7-6(4) 6-4

Women’s singles, first round
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) d Danka Kovinic (MNE) 6-0 6-0
[WC] Daria Gavrilova (AUS) d Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 6-1 7-5
[WC] Sam Stosur (AUS) d [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS) 6-4 6-4
[4] Sofia Kenin (USA) d [WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) 7-5 6-4
Nao Hibino (JPN) d [WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) 2-6 6-3 7-5
Madison Brengle (USA) d [WC] Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-1 6-2

> READ: Stosur’s triumphant Grand Slam return

Australian Open 2021 tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.