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Alex de Minaur wins Antalya Open in Turkey, Bernard Tomic qualifies for Australian Open


CAlex de Minaur has opened his 2021 season in style, claiming the first ATP title on offer for the year and his fourth overall, with success at the Antalya Open in Turkey.

The Australian number one was leading Alexander Bublik 2-0 in Wednesday’s final when the Kazakh retired injured just seven minutes into the match.

The 21-year-old world number 23 dropped only one set for the week in a promising build-up to next month’s rescheduled Australian Open in Melbourne.

“I mean, it’s massive. At the start of the year that’s what you need,” de Minaur said after following up his semi-final win over second-seeded world number 16 David Goffin in a somewhat anticlimactic title decider.

“I just think I gave myself the best possible chance to go deep into this tournament and I’m happy how it finished.

“I got four matches — and today — so very happy with my level and I had some quality wins.”

Nick Kyrgios lifts up Alex De Minaur in celebration.
Alex De Minaur and Nick Kyrgios were quite the tandem early in 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.(AAP: Mark Evans)

De Minaur missed his home grand slam last year in shattering fashion, an abdominal strain forcing him out of the tournament following a heroic ATP Cup campaign for Australia.

“It was a bittersweet moment last year so hopefully a year later I can come back stronger and hopefully have a great Aussie summer,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to going back home and playing in front of a home crowd, that’s for sure.”

His stomach injury aside, the COVID-19 pandemic further stalled his progression last year, following a breakout three-title season in 2019.

But the fleet-footed baseliner, now the youngest player in the world’s top 25, came back with a vengeance when the tour resumed.

De Minaur made a career-best charge to the US Open quarter-finals in 2020, upstaging a succession of heavy hitters en route to the last eight, then reached the final in Antwerp to finish ahead of Nick Kyrgios as Australia’s top-ranked player in 2020.

Kyrgios himself barely played any matches once the world was plunged into a pandemic, preferring to stay in Canberra and train.

Tomic qualifies for Australian Open after he ‘risked his life’

One year after reaching a career low point when he failed to qualify for the Australian Open, former world number 17 Bernard Tomic has punched his ticket to the delayed first grand slam of the year.

Tomic, who still appeared to be nowhere near the level of play fans saw early on in his career, battled past Australian veteran John-Patrick Smith 6-4 5-7 7-6 (10-7) to become the only Australian to make it through qualifying.

While Tomic won the match, it was an uphill battle as Smith frequently attacked the net and kept Tomic moving around the court, employing drop shots and low balls, showing Tomic’s much maligned movement had not improved.

What had improved was the 28-year-old’s resolve to win.

He admitted post match that he was “physically pretty bad”, but he was dogged on the court.

Tomic fought back from 4-1 down in the opening set to reel off six straight games and take it.

He also fought back from 3-0 down in the second set before Smith steadied and broke Tomic to take it 7-5 and send the match into a decider.

That set was extremely tight with neither player breaking serve, and it was Smith who cracked ever so slightly as two tight line calls went against him late in the third set to send it into a match tiebreak.

“No, that was not wide … two times in two games,” he complained to the umpire to no avail.

Tomic raced out to an early 3-0 lead in the match tiebreak and despite Smith getting it back to 4-4, Tomic was never headed and a couple of aces were punctuated by a searing forehand winner to take the match.

Tomic also showed he had plenty of fight left in him off the court as he took aim at his critics.

“I am in Doha, I risked my life flying here, my health, COVID’s around, many sick, with many things that can go wrong. I’m risking my life, and I’m playing and competing. Of course, I want to get there,” he said, when asked if his tennis ambitions still burned.

He followed that up by demanding favourable media coverage.

“You’re the people who write the bad stuff about me,” Tomic said.

“I don’t think you guys have been fair towards me in the last half-decade, [or] decade. You can spin it whatever way you want, but don’t escape the fact I’ve qualified for a slam.”

“If you like me and you’re a fan of me, write nice.”

AAP/ABC



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Alex de Minaur wins Antalya Open in Turkey in lead-up to Australian Open


Alex de Minaur has opened his 2021 season in style, claiming the first ATP title on offer for the year and his fourth overall, with success at the Antalya Open in Turkey.

The Australian number one was leading Alexander Bublik 2-0 in Wednesday’s final when the Kazakh retired injured just seven minutes into the match.

The 21-year-old world number 23 dropped only one set for the week in a promising build-up to next month’s rescheduled Australian Open in Melbourne.

“I mean, it’s massive. At the start of the year that’s what you need,” de Minaur said after following up his semi-final win over second-seeded world number 16 David Goffin in a somewhat anticlimactic title decider.

“I just think I gave myself the best possible chance to go deep into this tournament and I’m happy how it finished.

“I got four matches — and today — so very happy with my level and I had some quality wins.”

Nick Kyrgios lifts up Alex De Minaur in celebration.
Alex De Minaur and Nick Kyrgios were quite the tandem early in 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.(AAP: Mark Evans)

De Minaur missed his home grand slam last year in shattering fashion, an abdominal strain forcing him out of the tournament following a heroic ATP Cup campaign for Australia.

“It was a bittersweet moment last year so hopefully a year later I can come back stronger and hopefully have a great Aussie summer,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to going back home and playing in front of a home crowd, that’s for sure.”

His stomach injury aside, the COVID-19 pandemic further stalled his progression last year, following a breakout three-title season in 2019.

But the fleet-footed baseliner, now the youngest player in the world’s top 25, came back with a vengeance when the tour resumed.

De Minaur made a career-best charge to the US Open quarter-finals in 2020, upstaging a succession of heavy hitters en route to the last eight, then reached the final in Antwerp to finish ahead of Nick Kyrgios as Australia’s top-ranked player in 2020.

Kyrgios himself barely played any matches once the world was plunged into a pandemic, preferring to stay in Canberra and train.

AAP



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Thunder’s Alex Hales blitzes Stars in Big Bash League, Jason Holder wins it for Sixers against Renegades


Jason Holder has given the Sydney Sixers the perfect parting gift with a 16-run final over to help them to a two-wicket win over the Melbourne Renegades.

In his final game in the Big Bash before heading home to the Caribbean, Holder saved what appeared to be a lost cause chasing down 6-168 on the Gold Coast.

Needing 16 from the final Will Sutherland over, the West Indian captain saw the first delivery go past as a dot and scored two off the next to leave the equation at 14 from four balls.

He then drove Sutherland back down the ground for back-to-back fours, before hitting him long into the grandstand to wrap up the victory with a ball to spare.

“I wasn’t timing it as well as I would like up front, but the positive thing was I kept my wicket intact,” Holder told reporters.

“I knew if I was there at the start of the last over I could give us a chance.

“I just tried to stay calm.”

Holder played just three games for the Sixers but his stint could prove crucial given his 33 not out now has them at the top of the ladder.

“For me it was good to finish off on this note, headed back to the Caribbean tomorrow,” he said.

It came after Rilee Rossouw completed a bizarre catch to put the Renegades on top, removing Jordan Silk for 31 with a ball that bounced off his hands, arms and onto his stomach.

The result compounded the Renegades’ woes as they have now lost four in a row but were at least far more competitive than in their previous outings.

And yet, they still only often had themselves to blame.

Josh Philippe taught the Renegades for a second time this month he should not be given a second chance.

After he turned a life on 44 into his highest score of 95 in a big win just two weeks ago, he threatened to do likewise on Tuesday night.

Dropped on four in the first over of the chase by Imad Wasim, he later hit five straight boundaries off one Sutherland over.

He eventually fell on 48, before the Renegades mounted a fightback.

Earlier, Shaun Marsh gave the Melbourne side a chance to turn their season around with 67 from 48 balls at the top of the order.

But while he formed part of a 75-run opening stand with captain Aaron Finch (39 from 32), the Melbourne team failed to take full advantage of the platform.

They took double figures off just one of the last nine overs, with Daniel Christian finishing with 2-19 from his three overs.

Hales smashes Stars with record-breaking half-ton

Meanwhile, Alex Hales blitzed the fastest half-century in Sydney Thunder’s Big Bash history as they thumped the Melbourne Stars by 75 runs in Canberra.

Alex Hales looks skywards as he smashes a pull shot in the Big Bash
Alex Hales scorched to 71 from 29 deliveries to lay waste to the Melbourne Stars’ bowling attack.(AAP: Lukas Coch)

In one of the most devastating knocks in the franchise’s history, Hales reached 50 off just 21 balls to help the Thunder to 7-219.

The Sydneysiders then defended their own highest team total with ease, as Chris Green took 4-34 to dismiss the Stars for 144 and condemn them to the club’s worst-ever loss.

Hales eventually finished with 71 from 29 deliveries in an incredible innings that included five sixes and eight fours.

The highlights included a slog sweep off Adam Zampa that went onto the roof of the Manuka Oval grandstand to bring up his 50.

The Englishman also hit Nic Maddinson out of the park with a similar shot, before being caught and bowled by him the following ball.

“That was one of those days where you get in the zone and just want to keep batting,” Hales said.

“That can be the way sometimes in T20 cricket. As an opening bat you get the occasional low score.

“So to finally get that match-winning contribution which you want from your international players, it was nice.”

The Thunder were 1-109 at the end of the 10th over with Usman Khawaja (37 off 30) playing second fiddle in the 89-run opening stand with Hales.

Callum Ferguson then finished with 51 from 32 for his third half-century of the season, while Ben Cutting and Chris Green provided late big hitting.

Such was the Thunder’s dominance, there were just 29 dot balls in the entire innings, with just as many fours and sixes hit.

No Stars bowler was spared, with each going at more than eight an over and Zampa claiming 3-49 from his four overs.

“I was actually quite happy with the way we bowled, but when you have a world-class guy like Hales get going there’s not a whole lot you can do ,” Stars captain Glenn Maxwell said.

“We saw that the other night when [Nicholas] Pooran batted [for the Stars against the Sydney Sixers].

“I was proud of our guys for sticking in there, it could have got a lot worse.”

Green did the early damage when he broke the back of the Stars chase by getting Marcus Stoinis for 27 in the fourth over.

He also claimed the scalps of Andre Fletcher, Maddinson and the hard-hitting Ben Dunk for 21 off just nine balls.

Teenage spinner Tanveer Sangha impressed again, taking 2-17 from his four overs.

AAP



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Alex Blackwell says homophobia remains a serious problem in women’s sport despite ‘misconceptions’


Former Australian cricket captain Alex Blackwell says it is a “misconception” that homophobia is a lesser issue in girls’ and women’s sport, after a new study revealed many lesbian athletes report experiencing abuse after coming out.

A new study by Monash University says nearly 50 per cent of LGBT girls in youth team sport reported being a victim of homophobic abuse after coming out publicly — compared to 24 per cent who were abused but who had not come out.

Blackwell said the study showed that “gender norms and sexuality norms have been a problem in sport for a very long time”, but there had not been any “meaningful action and meaningful solutions” from sporting bodies.

“There are lots of misconceptions. There are misconceptions that lots of lesbians play sport, and what we’ve found in the research is the percentage of lesbians playing sport as teenagers is the same as the percentage of lesbians in the population,” she said.

“Perhaps for some reason lesbians are able to push through the barriers and play more elite sport, but I think that’s a big misconception, and also that there are no problems in being a lesbian in team sport.

“What the data has shown from the Monash group is that if you come out as a lesbian in team sport you are much more likely to experience homophobic abuse.

“That’s a really upsetting and scary thought because … that sort of abuse is actually going to increase your risk of self-harm and suicide, which is a really dangerous position to be in.”

In 2013, Blackwell became the first female international cricketer to publicly come out. She is married to fellow professional cricketer Lynsey Askew.

Alex Blackwell and her partner Lynsey Askew
Alex Blackwell (left) married fellow cricketer Lynsey Askell in 2015.(ABC News: Thuy Ong)

While she says her experiences have been “overwhelmingly positive”, she says she made the difficult choice to come out to support other female athletes — both gay and straight.

“The stigma that straight women experience is that they’re assumed to be gay because they play sport and then they’re assumed to be homophobes when they correct people,” she said.

“Which is a really awful position for them to be in.

“It’s hard for everyone involved. We know the problem’s been there for a very long time but we need to now be thinking about the solutions.”

The study also made note of low participation rates among young gay boys, which Blackwell says is a “serious health problem”.

“Just 33 per cent of gay boys participate in sport, compared to 68 per cent of straight boys. That’s a big problem because we know how positive sport can be for everybody,” she said.

“We need to smash some of those stereotypes and we need to continue to think about innovative solutions.

“For example, the captains [of teams] may be playing a key role in the setting of new standards around homophobic language, because the research has shown that [homophobic language] is a big deterrent, especially for males in sport.”



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Quokka photos by Alex Cearns perfect for 2020


Quokkas are the happiest creatures on Earth, according to animal photographer Alex Cearns.

She should know — she spent months getting up close with the cuddly critters for her new book, The Quokka’s Guide To Happiness.
The former police officer and crime analyst has coupled cute, funny, and above all, superbly framed pics of the marsupials in their natural habitat with stirring quotes by great thinkers and writers from human history for a picture book that is unashamedly smile-inducing and mood-enhancing — perfect for the end of a year like this one.

SCROLL DOWN TO CHECK OUT SOME OF THE PHOTOS

It also contains plenty of facts about these appealing beasts, from the derivation of their unusual-sounding name (from the Aboriginal Nyungar language word “gwaga”), through the reasons for their facial expressions (the curve of their snout and the doglike way they “smile” by opening their mouths to cool off), to Alex’s tips on how to photograph them.

Perth-based Alex is a passionate campaigner for wildlife and abandoned animals. She has received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her charitable work and numerous photography awards.

“Quokkas are adorably cute, remarkably unique and very photogenic, with their cheeky grins and loveable personalities,” she said of her furry subjects on WA’s Rottnest Island.

“What an absolute joy it was to photograph quokkas while they (mostly) ate, played and interacted with each other. Some were very friendly and would run towards me at full speed, as if we were long-lost friends. Others were more cautious in their approach, but as soon as I sat still, their curious natures would get the better of them and they would slowly come closer and then act like I wasn’t even there – which generally meant they got on with eating.

“It was a great privilege to stop and sit quietly with hundreds of quokkas for hours on end and to get to know them better than I would have if I’d just taken a brief selfie with a mobile phone. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed taking the photographs for it.”

The Quokka’s Guide To Happiness by Alex Cearns, published by HarperCollins’ ABC Books, is available from Dec 2.

NOW FOR SOME OF ALEX’S PICTURES….

(And the quotes that accompany them in her book)



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Mansfield Shire Council proposing to name new sports stadium after hometown hero Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin


Mansfield Shire Council has proposed to name a new sports stadium being built at the Mansfield Secondary College after two-time world champion snowboarder Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, who died earlier this year.

Pullin was born and raised in Mansfield and Mansfield Shire Council CEO Kaylene Conrick said he was also a student at the Secondary College where the new stadium is being built.

“Chumpy was well-known and well loved in Mansfield,” Councillor Kaylene Conrick said.

“He was a local but also he was an extraordinary athlete, two time snowboard world champion, he competed in three Olympic games, he was recognised was a very young age,” she said.

The three-time Olympian and world champion snowboarder died at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast in an incident at an artificial reef where he was spearfishing in July this year.

Artist impression of a sports building with courts next to it.
An artist’s impression of the new sports stadium.(Supplied: Mansfield Shire Council)

Construction of the $7 million sporting complex consisting of a new dual court stadium and dual outdoor multi-purpose courts at the Mansfield Secondary College began earlier this year.

Cr Conrick said the council had almost decided on a name for the complex when the news came through of Pullin’s death.

“At the time council considered how appropriate it would be to perhaps name the facility after Chumpy,” she said.

“We approached the family and obviously a very sensitive matter, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Pullin family, and they agreed for council to propose the name to the community and honour Alex.”

‘Much loved, well liked and is missed’

The decision is now up to the community, with two online polls open to gauge the support of naming the facility the ‘Alex Pullin Stadium’.

Cr Conrick said council hoped to get the support of the community for the naming of the stadium in his honour.

It’s not the first time the community has recognised the former local, he was given a key to the town at a ceremony 2011.

One man is presenting a framed key to another man on a stage with a podium in front of them.
In 2011, Pullin was presented with a ceremonial key to the Mansfield Shire from then Mayor Cr Tom Ingpen.(ABC News: Matt Dowling)

Local cafe and hotel owner Dean Belle knew Pullin when he was growing up in Mansfield.

“He was just so focused,” Mr Belle said.

Mr Belle said the townspeople had a special spot in their hearts for him.

The consultation on naming the facility will close in early December with a decision to be made by council next month.



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Alex de Minaur upset by French Open qualifier, Daria Gavrilova makes winning return


Australia’s highest-ranked player at the French Open has been beaten in the first round by qualifier Marco Cecchinato, while Daria Gavrilova made a successful return from injury.

Alex de Minaur was the 25th seed in Paris and had the benefit of facing the 110th-ranked Italian after he made it through the qualifying stages.

But the Aussie was beaten in straight sets 7-6(11/9), 6-4, 6-0, although he showed his typical fight to push the match out to almost three hours.

Jordan Thompson was also ousted in straight sets, with the world number 53 losing to Moldovia’s Radu Albot 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

There was more luck on the women’s side of the draw, with Daria Gavrilova reaching the second round of a major for the first time since 2018.

She got there by upsetting 24th seed Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 6-3, making a winning return from foot injuries that have restricted her to one tournament in 2020.

Daria Gavrilova looks disappointed during a defeat at the Australian Open
Daria Gavrilova reached a career-high ranking of 20 before dropping way down.(AAP: Julian Smith)

She last won a singles match at a grand slam at the 2018 US Open, although that time she was beaten in the second round by Victoria Azarenka.

The 26-year-old reached a career-high ranking of 20 in 2017 and spent most of 2018 in the top 30 before injuries saw her plummet all the way down and outside the top 700. She is playing on a protected ranking of 251 at Roland Garros.

Her reward for an upset win over Yastremska is a second-round match-up against another former star hit hard by injuries, Eugenie Bouchard.

The Canadian, who reached the French Open semi-final and the Wimbledon final back in 2014, is now ranked outside the top 100 and made it into the main draw as a wild card. She beat Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya 6-4, 6-4.

Astra Sharma was the first Australian to advance to the second round after cashing in on her late call-up as a “lucky loser” from the final round of qualifying.

Tennis player plays a double-fisted backhand,
Astra Sharma defeated Anna Blinkova in three sets to move through to the second round.(AAP: Hamish Blair, File Photo)

But the 25-year-old is now at least $140,000 richer after securing the biggest pay day of her career with a dogged three-set win over Russian Anna Blinkova, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

Ranked 56 places below the world number 58, Sharma recovered from a service break down in the deciding set to prevail after two hours and 45 minutes.

Coached by David Taylor, the former mentor of Gavrilova and Samantha Stosur, Sharma is through to the second round of the singles draw at a major for only the second time.

And the West Australian showed true grit to progress, overcoming the disappointment of blowing a 4-1 advantage in the third set, then breaking back as Blinkova served for the match at 5-4.

Her reward is a shot at another Russian, Ekaterina Alexandrova, the 27th seed who ousted fellow Australian Maddison Inglis 6-3, 6-3.

Ajla Tomljanovic, the top-ranked Australian in the women’s draw in the absence of world number one and 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty, was also unable to overcome a tough draw.

Tomljanovic went down to Greece’s 20th seed Maria Sakkari, 6,0, 7-5.

ABC/AAP



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Alex de Minaur proves he belongs on the grand slam stage with impressive US Open run


Overcome by the sheer firepower of second seed Dominic Thiem, Alex de Minaur’s US Open run has ended at the quarter-final stage, but the 21-year-old Australian has spent the last week proving that he belongs on such a stage.

At 2-2 in the second set, de Minaur was still in the match. He’d dropped the first 6-1 but that score line didn’t do justice to his fighting qualities and the six break points he’d forced.

John McEnroe described the Australian’s physically gruelling approach as a “heck of a way to make a living”, but as a result, the same was true of Thiem’s night — his bantamweight opponent kept him honest for every second of their sweaty 124-minute battle in humid conditions at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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Two matches earlier, in an epic five-set fightback against Karen Khachanov, de Minaur proved that he was never out of the contest.

This time around, Thiem was too ruthless and far too strong, showing de Minaur where he sits in the pecking order.

With his wispy moustache, the Australian has looked like a boy among men this week, but he has also shown fans what tour veterans already knew: being drawn against de Minaur is cause for a grimace.

The third set of this match was a classic example of the unease de Minaur prompts among opponents.

Coasting towards victory, Thiem had a momentary lapse in intensity, and de Minaur pounced, hurtling around the court and playing audacious winners to alter the momentum and the mood of the night.

At 4-4, Thiem broke for the seventh and final time, but the fist-pump that followed was an expression of relief, not dominance.

A tennis player grins as he clenches his fist near the umpire's chair after winning a US Open match.
Dominic Thiem was happy to reach his first US Open semi-final, but he was also glad to save energy by beating de Minaur in three sets.(AP: Frank Franklin II)

Cynics might claim de Minaur has benefitted from a soft draw this week, but is it ‘soft’ to enter a strife-torn country in the middle of a pandemic?

Nick Kyrgios, a strident critic of the top-ranking players who’ve sought primarily to keep their accountants busy, spoke for plenty when he said ‘no thanks’ and stayed home.

Direct comparisons between the two Australians are always unfair, their differences almost too obvious to bother highlighting: de Minaur is a softly spoken, self-contained fitness freak who defends like few others on the tour, chasing down every last ball, where Kyrgios is often the opposite of those things — enjoyably so.

The ball-chasing is an unsexy quality to consider, but means de Minaur has the makings of a long and lucrative grand slam career.

“He runs side to side and he’s never out of breath,” a wearied Vasek Pospisil said after de Minaur dispatched him in round four. “He defies the laws of biology.”

A tennis player leaps off the ground to hit a ball mid-air as his shadow can be seen on the court.
Alex de Minaur’s sheer physical effort on court has stunned opponents including Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.(AP: Seth Wenig)

What he meant, I think, is that de Minaur defies certain physical expectations of the elite male tennis star: in the upper echelons of the sport, he is a snake-hipped matador among bulls.

Lacking the size, power and the basic intimidation factor of the best, he benefits from an unflappable temperament and supreme footwork. His astonishing court coverage results from a rare combination of stamina and speed.

At basic levels of psychology and physiology, it means de Minaur denies his opponents easy points. Unable to blast them away, he wears them down.

This is where his slight frame comes in use: such masochism would break bigger men.

Indeed, it’s not always kind on de Minaur either. Several times against Thiem he fought not to show the ill effects of his helter-skelter dashing and lunging.

Some would say this all makes him the heir apparent to Lleyton Hewitt’s title of Australia’s toughest cookie. In personality, however, de Minaur is different to Hewitt in more ways than he is similar: the intensity and doggedness are there, but not the outright belligerence.

De Minaur’s gestures of intimidation are simulations of the real thing. They are punctuation marks in his match-day checklist, not interventions on his opponents’.

With this run, de Minaur edges further onto Australian tennis’ centre stage. Some will say that heaps yet more pressure on Kyrgios to fulfil his potential, but as ever, Kyrgios will foremost be happy for his friend; they cherish wearing the green and gold together.

Nick Kyrgios lifts up Alex De Minaur in celebration.
Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur are very different people, but the pair of friends make a good team for Australia.(AAP: Mark Evans)

Earlier in the year, during Australia’s ATP Cup campaign, there was a moment of comic brilliance when de Minaur and Kyrgios sat side-by-side answering a series of light-hearted questions. One: “Would you rather be number one for a month, or win a grand slam?”

Only half-joking, Kyrgios jumped straight in and said he’d take the grand slam and holiday for the rest of the year.

De Minaur, of course, chose the other option, adding: “That essentially means you won a grand slam.” Outwitted, Kyrgios flashed another of his infamous smirks, seen so often in wins as in losses. Candour is one of his more endearing traits.

As flippant as it was, it reveals deeper undercurrents. There is no smirking when de Minaur plays.

He made an instructive comment — more a mission statement — after he dispatched Pospisil: “This is where I want to be and this is where I truly believe I belong, [in the] second week of slams and going deep,” de Minaur said.

It is the positive self-talk of sports psychology, perhaps, but equally a sample of de Minaur’s unflinching inner vision of his career. Be prepared for the late-night vigils.



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US Open 2020 live: Alex de Minaur vs Dominic Thiem quarter final updates


By Andrew Mcgarry

One winner and eight unforced errors from de Minaur kind of tells the tale so far.

By Andrew Mcgarry

That was a big effort from de Minaur there – he has not looked in control so far, but he kept at it and forced some errors from Thiem’s racquet. Now to consolidate.

By Andrew Mcgarry

Both men have come on court for the quarter-final. Neither was giving much away in the pre-match chat, with De Minaur saying he needed to bring the intensity on-court against Thiem. Few surprises there.



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Alex De Minaur charges into US Open quarter-finals



Australia’s Alex De Minaur has charged into his first ever grand slam quarter-final with a straight sets victory over Canadian giant-killer Vasek Pospisil.

World No.94 Pospisil had claimed two big scalps in the previous two rounds, taking out fellow Canadian and tournament 25th seed Milos Raonic in four sets in the second round, before beating eighth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets to make the round of 16.

But against the 21-year-old Australian he was not allowed to repeat the effort as he lost 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-2.

If the scoreline seems like it was all one-way traffic, it wasn’t always the case.

Pospisil led the first set tie-break 6-2 but blew all his set points as De Minaur rattled off six straight points to take the breaker 8-6.

The blow of losing the tiebreak from a winning position appeared too much for Pospisil, who was broken often and early in the second set, before getting one break back late in the set.

Ultimately though that would be his last real rally as the Australian proved far too consistent for the Canadian, who’s 43 winners were not enough to offset his 48 unforced errors.

For the more defensive-minded De Minaur the performance, minus the start of the opening set tie-break, was of a high quality and he knew the first set was all important.

“That first set was crucial,” De Minaur said post match.

“I tried to stay calm, played a couple of good points on my serve and got lucky.”

The win means De Minaur not only makes his first grand slam quarter-final but remains a chance to become the first new slam winner since Marin Cilic at the US Open in 2014.

The men’s draw opened up after top-ranked Serb Novak Djokovic was defaulted in his fourth round match when an errant ball he hit connected with the throat of a linesperson.

De Minaur will now play either perennial slam contender Dominic Thiem of Austria or another Canadian, Felix Auger-Aliassime, in the quarters.

ABC



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