Hometown hero Alex de Minaur STUNS Rafael Nadal as Aussie star comes back from a set down to record the biggest win of his career against reigning Australian Open champion
There’s no such thing as a meaningless match for Alex de Minaur.
The Australian registered his first-ever win over 22-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal at the United Cup, downing the Spaniard 3-6 6-1 7-5.
While not on the biggest stage – the clash was part of a dead tie with Great Britain already progressing to the next round of the competition – it’s still one of the best of the 23-year-old’s career.
Alex de Minaur beat Rafael Nadal 3-6 6-1 7-5 at the United Cup in Sydney on Monday
Until Monday night in Sydney, de Minaur had never beaten a player ranked No.1 or No.2 in the world – now he has beaten arguably the best of all-time.
‘I couldn’t be happier to get my first win over Rafa on this court in front of you guys,’ de Minaur said, acknowledging the city where he grew up.
‘I knew it was going to be a battle – Rafa is a hell of a competitor.’
World No.2 Nadal started inauspiciously, going down an early break, only to reel off four straight games to snatch the first set.
It marked the first time the 23-year Australian has beaten the 22-time Grand Slam champion
That momentum continued with another break to start the second set, only for the Sydney local to produce some of his own trademark grit and storm through the next six games.
The decider was a mixed bag – de Minaur’s foot speed and ability to rip out winners from defensive positions against the brute force and experience of Nadal.
The pair traded breaks midway through the set before an error-strewn 11th game from Nadal saw de Minaur serve for the match.
Nadal took out the first set despite losing his service early in the opening stanza
But De Minaur clawed his way back into the match to record a stunning victory
There’d be no more drama as the Australian served it out to love to claim the win.
After a patchy back half of 2022 and a surprise loss to Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Spain’s opening tie, there have been questions being raised about Nadal’s form and motivation as he heads into the twilight of his career.
Since pulling out of the Wimbledon semi-final of 2022 against Nick Kyrgios he has had four wins on tour from 11 starts.
De Minaur finishes the tournament with a 1-1 singles record after also falling to Norrie.
Share or comment on this article: