Melbourne, Australia, 19 January 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Alex de Minaur predicted his second-round clash with Frenchman Adrian Mannarino at Australian Open 2023 would be “a battle” – and it proved exactly that.

The 23-year-old Australian needed three hours and 28 minutes to overcome the wily world No.45, eventually closing out a 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4 6-1 victory at John Cain Arena this evening.

“It’s always tough whenever I play Adrian,” De Minaur said.

“It’s tricky. It’s a chess match out there and we both know it’s going to be very physical, we’re both going to play gruelling rallies. But it’s about staying tough and I dug really, really deep today and found an extra level that I probably didn’t know I had.”

Long rallies were a feature of the match, as the two relentless competitors went toe-to-toe. There were 77 points that extended beyond nine shots, with De Minaur winning 40 of them compared to Mannarino’s 37.

“It was just an absolute battle out there,” De Minaur said. “We were both going at it, both running miles and miles, having very tricky rallies.”

This evening’s hard-fought victory propels De Minaur into the round of 32 at his home Grand Slam for a fourth time.

“I’m glad I was able to pull through,” De Minaur said, who credited the passionate and vocal crowd support for lifting him in the final stages of the match.

The world No.24 now plays another Frenchman, world No.48 Benjamin Bonzi.

De Minaur holds a 2-1 win-loss record against the 26-year-old Bonzi, who this evening fought back from a two-set deficit to defeat 14th seed Pablo Carreno Busta and advance to his first Grand Slam third round.

Earlier today, wildcard Alexei Popyrin stunned eighth-seeded American Taylor Fritz in a five-set thriller. The victory left the 23-year-old Aussie in tears, as an adoring crowd at John Cain Arena chanted his name in celebration.

“It’s incredible. It’s crazy. This win means so much to me,” said an emotional Popyrin.

> READ MORE: Popyrin powers past No.8 seed Fritz at AO 2023

Five Australian players also scored doubles wins at Melbourne Park today. This included John Peers, who maintained his unbeaten record in first-round matches at the tournament.

> READ MORE: Aussies advance in AO 2023 doubles

AUSSIES IN ACTION – Australian Open

Men’s singles, second round
[22] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4 6-1
[WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
 d [8] Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-7(4) 7-6(2) 6-4 6-7(6) 6-2
Andy Murray (GBR) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 4-6 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-3 7-5

Women’s singles, second round
Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE) d [WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-3 6-2

Men’s singles, third round
[22] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 
[WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 
v Ben Shelton (USA)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 men’s singles draw

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