Melbourne, Australia , 19 January 2024 | Vivienne Christie

Known for the wheels that earned him the Speed Demon moniker, Alex de Minaur has lifted a gear at Australian Open 2024.

With a straight-sets win over Flavio Cobolli at John Cain Arena, the No.1 Australian moved smoothly into the tournament’s second week.

Combining his trademark weapons of tenacity and athleticism, De Minaur defeated the Italian qualifier 6-3 6-3 6-1 to set a fourth-round meeting with fifth seed Andrey Rublev.

“This is where the tournament really starts,” said a business-like De Minaur, making no secret of his fierce ambitions at his home Grand Slam.

“I say this because this is where I want to be. This is where the tail end of the tournament starts, the second week of Slams.

“I’ve always been told that the first week of a Slam is to get through however way you want to, and the second week is when you start to play your real tennis.

“Hopefully I can do that. Now the matches … should be against better-ranked opponents. I’m looking forward to that.”

De Minaur took two hours and seven minutes to wear down Cobolli, who was considerably more dangerous than his world No.100 ranking suggested.

After three dominant wins in qualifying, the 21-year-old had launched a first Australian Open main-draw campaign with a five-set upset of No.18 seed Nicolas Jarry, before overcoming Pavel Kotov in four sets.

Armed with a particularly potent forehand, the crafty Cobolli recorded 45 winners in his first match and a similarly effective 41 in the second.

Facing De Minaur, however, the Australian Open debutante was never allowed the opportunity to produce his best tennis. The Australian struck a first blow as he earned the first break of serve against Cobolli in an extended seventh game.

While De Minaur didn’t consolidate, he also didn’t panic. Another break over the Italian proved a confidence-booster, the No.10 seed lifting a level to secure the 39-minute first set with an ace.

An epic third game was the turning point of the second set, with De Minaur securing a 2-1 lead on his ninth break point. He maintained that advantage to close out the set.

The toll of a sixth match in Melbourne started showing for Cobolli, who was treated for a leg complaint when he trailed 0-3 in the third set.

De Minaur, by contrast, was seemingly growing in energy as he gained another break of serve and confidently served out the match, securing victory with a perfectly placed forehand, for his 26th winner of the match.

“I probably must be feeling the freshest I’ve been getting at this stage of the tournament,” said De Minaur, who progressed through the first round when Milos Raonic withdrew through injury, then defeated Matteo Arnaldi in straight sets.

“Physically I’m feeling great. Now it’s just about giving all my energy for what’s to come.”

Having reached the same stage of the 2022 and 2023 tournaments, De Minaur becomes the first Australian to reach the fourth round of his home Grand Slam in three consecutive editions since Lleyton Hewitt between 2003 and 2005.

Asked what it would mean to further emulate the success of his mentor, De Minaur noted the importance of focusing on his own success.

“First of all, I’ll try to get a little bit better and beat my personal best, get to a quarterfinals. That’s the first step,” he said.

“I’ve made a couple fourth rounds in the past. I maybe have gotten to that point and not played the type of match I wanted to. I’m hoping I can break that barrier and go one further.”

Aussies in action – Australian Open

Men’s singles, third round
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d [Q] Flavio Cobolli (ITA) 6-3 6-3 6-1

Women’s singles, third round
[9] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) d [Q] Storm Hunter (AUS) 4-6 7-5 6-3

Men’s singles, fourth round
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v [5] Andrey Rublev

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 men’s singles draw

Find your way to play: Visit to get out on court and have some fun!