Alex De Minaur upsets Daniil Medvedev to reach first Roland-Garros quarter-final


Medvedev’s uprising was brief, as he dumped a backhand poorly into the net to face another break point before de Minaur caned an inside-out forehand winner to go 4-3 ahead. Two games later it was all over after a Medvedev double fault.

The four-set victory avenged de Minaur’s loss to Medvedev at the same stage of last year’s US Open and is the most significant of his career.

Alex De Minaur plays a shot against Daniil Medvedev.

Alex De Minaur plays a shot against Daniil Medvedev.Credit: AP

The world No.11’s sole previous slam quarter-final was at the COVID-affected 2020 US Open, when some of the best players were missing.

Medvedev was de Minaur’s first top-five scalp – at his 19th try – at the Paris Masters in late 2022, a moment he often credits for supercharging his confidence against the world’s elite.

This triumph on what he regards as his least-preferred surface was his fifth over a top-10 rival this season and 11th since the start of last year, including six more over top-five opponents. Put simply, de Minaur has arrived as a tour force.

The 25-year-old told this masthead in March, on the eve of Indian Wells, that his next big goals – beyond deep runs at the slams – were to qualify for the end-of-year ATP Tour Finals and break into the top five.

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev receiving medical attention.

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev receiving medical attention.Credit: AP

De Minaur’s latest win moves him to No.8 in the live rankings, although the four players below him are still alive in the tournament and could overtake him depending on how the rest of this week goes.

He stated after reaching the second round that he was a “completely different player” on clay these days to the version who never won more than one match at Roland-Garros at his previous seven trips. That much was obvious when in April, the Sydneysider became the first Australian to beat Rafael Nadal on the red dirt.

De Minaur largely dominated the contest after overcoming a tardy start, including dodging trouble at 0-40 in his first service game before conceding serve on his seventh break point in just the third game of the match.

He could not reel Medvedev back in time to avoid going down a set despite earning a break point in three separate return games, but there was plenty to be encouraged about at that stage.

By then, de Minaur was beginning to win more than his share of the regular rallies extending beyond double-digit shots, particularly with his willingness to change direction with his forehand, which did the bulk of his damage.

He was the aggressor of the two players, taking every opportunity to step into the court and get to the net – and was finally rewarded when a Medvedev drop shot attempt crashed into the net on his sixth break point.

That came a game after Medvedev took a medical time-out for treatment on blisters on his right foot. However, de Minaur caused the Russian far greater pain with his stoic defence, extraordinary court coverage and controlled aggression.

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De Minaur also enjoyed good success at the net, and with an array of wonderfully struck drop shots.

That second-set break triggered a dramatic change akin to a dam wall bursting, with de Minaur’s visible dominance reflected on an increasingly lopsided scoreboard as Medvedev’s mood darkened.

Medvedev not only hit almost half as many winners as de Minaur (27-51) but committed more unforced errors (42-40), on top of winning a meagre 62 per cent of his first-serve points against the Australian, who is inarguably one of the world’s best returners.

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