De Minaur Matches Hewitt's Record, Advances In Tokyo

  • Posted: Oct 19, 2023

De Minaur Matches Hewitt’s Record, Advances In Tokyo

Popyrin reaches last eight

Alex de Minaur became the first Australian since Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 to reach 10 tour-level quarter-finals in a season on Thursday at the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships.

The fourth seed produced a consistent display to overcome Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 7-5 at the ATP 500 hard-court event in one hour and 30 minutes.

De Minaur struck the ball with his flat deadly precision from the baseline, outlasting Schwartzman in a series of lengthy exchanges to improve to 2-0 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

“I am always happy [to win],” De Minaur said. “Especially against a tough competitor like Diego. I am most proud of how I stay composed out there. I was up a bit in the second set and could have let that slip but I kept my head together, told myself I would get more chances and I was able to sneak through in two sets.”

With his 41st win of the season, the Australian set a quarter-final showdown against Zhang Zhizhen or Aslan Karatsev.

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De Minaur is 13th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin on 2,560 points. He is 550 points behind eighth-placed Holger Rune, who occupies the final qualification spot.

Chasing his second title of the season, De Minaur will need a deep run in Tokyo to further increase his chances of making his debut at the prestigious year-end event. If his direct rivals above him fall early, De Minaur could climb to ninth by lifting the trophy. Eighth-placed Rune, 10th-placed Casper Ruud and 11th-placed Hubert Hurkacz have all fallen at their respective events this week.

De Minaur’s countryman Alexei Popyrin also advanced to the quarter-finals, defeating Chilean Cristian Garin 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2.

Popyrin has now earned 22 tour-level wins this year, equalling his previous best season (2021). Into his sixth career tour-level quarter-final and fourth of 2023, the 24-year-old will next meet top seed Taylor Fritz or Japan’s Shintaro Mochizuki.

Popyrin is up four spots to No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. He reached a previous career-high No. 40 in August.

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