Madrid, Spain, 30 April 2023 | Vivienne Christie

Alex de Minaur will face Aslan Karatsev in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open, after overcoming dangerous clay-courter Marco Cecchinato in straight sets.

De Minaur required an hour and 46 minutes to post his 6-4 7-6(4) win over Cecchinato, a former Roland Garros semifinalist, at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

The Italian qualifier was victorious over De Minaur in their three previous clay-court encounters, but took control early in their Madrid match. He claimed a break of serve for a 2-1 lead and after saving five break points in the eighth game, went on to secure the set.

While the 64-minute second set was more tightly contested – with both players saving break points – De Minaur was able to gain the ascendancy in the tiebreak.

It sets a meeting with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev, whom De Minaur defeated in their only other match at Sofia in 2020.

Fellow Sydneysider Chris O’Connell had a tougher day in Madrid, with Taylor Fritz claiming a straight sets win.

But O’Connell will take heart from the fight he displayed against the top-10 American, with the first set extending to a 24-point tiebreak

The 2023 clay-court season has so far been impressive overall for world No.81 O’Connell, who upset No.3 seed Alexander Zverev en route to the Munich semifinals last week.

Storm Hunter also claimed a win at the high-stakes tournament, combining with Belgian Elise Mertens to progress to the women’s doubles second round.

Fellow Australian Ellen Perez and her American partner Nicole Melichar-Martinez exited Madrid after an injury retirement in their first-round match.

Aussies in action – Madrid

Men’s singles, second round
[16] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d [Q] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-4 7-6(5)
[8] Taylor Fritz (USA) d Chris O’Connell (AUS) 7-6(11) 6-4

Women’s doubles, first round
[4] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) d Daria Kasatkina/Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-3 6-3
Miyu Kato (JPN)/Aldila Sutjiadi (IDN) d [5] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) 6-2 4-1 ret.

Men’s singles, third round
[16] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 

> VIEW: Full Madrid men’s singles draw

Women’s doubles, second round
[4] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Monica Niculescu (ROU)/Makoto Ninomiya (JPN)

> VIEW: Full Madrid women’s doubles draw

Men’s doubles, second round
[7] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Marcelo Melo (BRA)/Alexander Zverev (GER)

> VIEW: Full Madrid men’s doubles draw

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