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De Minaur moves on at Australian Open 2024 | 15 January, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

De Minaur moves on at Australian Open 2024 | 15 January, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Alex de Minaur advanced to the second round of Australian Open 2024, after Milos Raonic retired with injury.

Melbourne, Australia, 15 January 2024 | Vivienne Christie

Big stage battles are a familiar place for Alex de Minaur. At age 24, the Australian is now a “veteran” of 26 Grand Slams: at Melbourne Park this summer, he’s contesting his home major for a seventh time.

Yet De Minaur also arrived at Australian Open 2024 in new territory. Following wins this year over Taylor Fritz, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, the Australian entered the world’s top 10 for the first time.

Amid the jubilation of that new milestone came the intense focus of an expectant Australian public. And if that wasn’t intimidating enough for De Minaur, he also drew wily veteran Milos Raonic – a former Wimbledon finalist and Australian Open semifinalist – in the first round.

For the best part of a set-and-a-half, the former world No.3 presented De Minaur with an almighty test. But as the Australian increasingly challenged, so too did a hip injury for Raonic; after one hour and 55 minutes, the Canadian retired early in the third set.

De Minaur had edged ahead 6-7(6) 6-3 2-0 when Raonic decided he couldn’t play on.

“It’s definitely not the way you want to go through to the next round,” said De Minaur, who felt the injury increasingly factored after a tight first set in which neither player surrendered a break of serve.

“I started maybe midway through the second to notice a little bit him losing a bit of speed on his serve, eventually making it a little bit easier for me to kind of expose his movement, get back into the rallies.”

> READ: Thompson triumphs in all-Aussie battle at Australian Open 2024

Despite the abrupt ending, De Minaur had several important takeaways from the match.

“No matter what the situation is, I’m going to stay calm and collected,” he said. “(It) doesn’t matter what position you’re in, stay calm and collected. I’ll believe in myself to change the situation, any situation.”

De Minaur required all that spirit against Raonic. The 33-year-old had been missing from the tour for the best part of two seasons, felled by a string of injuries that at times had him questioning his will to return.

And yet he still possessed a game-changing weapon in his massive serve. The Canadian fired it up superbly early against De Minaur, with nine of his 12 total aces fired in the first set.

It was that…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Tennis.com.au – Tennis Australia…