London, July 2 (IANS) Australia’s Alex de Minaur produced a high-class performance to breeze past British wildcard Liam Broady 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 and reach the fourth round at Wimbledon 2022, here on Saturday.
Some late resistance from Broady saw De Minaur forced to fend off four break points when serving at 6-5 in the third set, but the Australian dug deep to convert his third match point for a two-hour, 24-minute victory.
“I’m just relieved. It was definitely harder at the end there than I wanted it to be, but at the end of the day this is tennis and anything can happen,” said De Minaur in his on-court interview.
“Nerves playing in front of an amazing crowd, [on] an amazing court against a Brit, so it’s never easy. More than anything [I’m] just relieved to be in the second week of Wimbledon,” he added.
De Minaur was making his second appearance in the third round at SW19, having fallen to Rafael Nadal at the same stage in 2018.
“It’s incredibly special. Wimbledon in itself is such a special tournament, so to be able to come and play here, it’s a true honour. I’m just enjoying every second I can on the grass and trying to ride this wave,” said De Minaur.
After a cagey start, the Australian took charge with a break to love in the sixth game on No. 1 Court. That proved enough to clinch an opening set in which De Minaur dropped just three points behind serve and was frequently the dominant player from the baseline.
Broady struggled to change that pattern as the match wore on, and De Minaur also claimed the solitary break of the second set in the fifth game.
The World No. 27 showed his class at the net throughout, winning 70 percent (23/33) of points when coming forward and, despite dropping his serve for the first time at 5-4 and pressure from Broady at 6-5 in the third, De Minaur’s clean hitting proved too much for the World No. 132.
De Minaur can match his best Grand Slam result, a quarterfinal run at the 2020 US Open, with a fourth-round victory against Cristian Garin. Both De Minaur and Garin met only 12 days ago on the grass at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne, where the Australian ran out a 6-3, 6-3 winner.
Prior to Saturday, no Australian man had reached the fourth round at Wimbledon since 2016, but De Minaur became the second to achieve that feat in the space of 15 minutes after his countryman Jason Kubler earlier completed a 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 win against Jack Sock.
Nick Kyrgios could make it three Australians in the last 16, if he can take out fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, later in the day.