Alex de Minaur beats Carlos Alcaraz in Aus Open charity match

Alex de Minaur says the “sky is the limit” after he claimed his fourth top 10 scalp in just 10 days with a charity match victory over Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday night.

The Australian world no. 10 continued his blistering form in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena crowd as he claimed a 6-4, 5-7, (10-3) victory – his first win over the Spanish star, albeit in an unofficial encounter.

It was Alcaraz’s first match in two months and first in Australia since 2022 when he was a relative unknown, but the US Open and Wimbledon champion burst out of the blocks with a break in the first game and did not roll over when de Minaur seized control of the second set.

de Minaur, 24, has started the year by beating four players ranked inside the top 10 after he stormed past Taylor Fritz, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev to lead Australia into the United Cup semi-finals last week.

de Minaur said his rare form to begin 2024 had him dreaming of a maiden grand slam win in front of his home crowd.

“We’ll just have to wait and see … I heard a pretty good quote: ‘How big would you dream if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ That’s been the motto, I’m pushing myself every day and hopefully the sky’s the limit,” de Minaur said after the match.

“I’m extremely happy … my level is in a good spot coming into Melbourne. 2024 has been very good to me, hopefully I can keep it going.”

Speaking from courtside during the match, his United Cup coach Lleyton Hewitt said while there was little at stake in the Alcaraz clash, the time on the Rod Laver surface would be valuable for de Minaur with a heavy centre court schedule anticipated during the Open.

“It’s probably a little bit quicker than Sydney (during the United Cup) here at the moment, so that’s kind of what he’s getting to feel out here tonight,” Hewitt told Nine.

“You’d imagine he’s going to play quite a few matches, hopefully he can go deep in this tournament on this particular court and surface.”

Alcaraz announced himself on the opening point when he answered de Minaur’s serve with a classy backhand slice down the line which the Australian could not retrieve, and then followed it with a booming forehand as he broke to take a 1-0 lead.

But de Minaur responded in the next game to get back on serve, at times appearing to surprise Alcaraz with his speed across the court as he forced several errors from the Spaniard with his rapid bursts across the baseline.

The Australian saved a break point at the start of the second set to avoid giving Alcaraz the same advantage again, but was broken twice after racing to a 3-0 lead and his opponent took the set.

de Minaur recovered his touch though in the match tie-break, winning the first five points before claiming the match with a trademark set of repeated returns at full stretch.

Proceeds from the series of matches will go to a range of children’s charities through the Australian Tennis Foundation, which wants to help 5000 children from disadvantaged backgrounds to play the sport in 2024.

Tuesday night’s match between grand slam winners Naomi Osaka and Emma Raducanu was cancelled after the pair both withdrew due to fitness concerns, but on Thursday night world no. 1 Novak Djokovic will feature in an exhibition including stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Aryna Sabalenka.

On Friday, Alcaraz will return to Rod Laver to take on world no. 11 Casper Ruud in his final tune-up before the Open begins on Sunday.

Tickets are on sale from $20 for Thursday and Friday night’s charity matches via Ticketmaster.

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