Second seed Alex de Minaur began his quest for the Viking International Eastbourne crown on Wednesday when he defeated British wild card Liam Broady 6-3, 6-4 over one hour and 40 minutes.
“It was very intense,” said De Minaur. “A very tough match at a high level, against a tricky opponent, who has been playing great. It’s a part of the year that I love. I enjoy the grass-court swing and I want to make every match count.”
The Australian is currently at a career-high No. 18 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, having returned to the Top 20 for the first time in 18 months after a run to last week’s cinch Championships semi-finals (l. to Berrettini). He will next challenge Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the quarter-finals. De Minaur leads Pospisil 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.[WATCH LIVE 1]
In a closely fought contest at Devonshire Park, De Minaur came under early pressure, but broke clear in the seventh game and completed the 46-minute opener with a backhand crosscourt winner. De Minaur appeared to be in control when he served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, but World No. 144 Broady raised his game for one final push.
De Minaur improves to a 17-14 match record on the season, which includes the Antalya Open crown (d. Bublik).
Pospisil, celebrating his 31st birthday today, advanced mid-afternoon Wednesday having won the first set against sixth-seeded Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6(1) after 73 minutes. Davidovich Fokina required on-court treatment early in the match for a back injury, which had troubled him since Roland Garros.
Elsewhere, third-seeded Italian Lorenzo Sonego powered his way to a 6-4, 6-2 win over John Millman of Australia in 81 minutes. The 26-year-old Sonego, who captured a grass-court trophy two years ago in Antalya (d. Kecmanovic), now faces eighth-seeded Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik.