Alex de Minaur celebrates winning the Australian Open wildcard playoff. Picture: Michael Klein
Alex de Minaur celebrates winning the Australian Open wildcard playoff. Picture: Michael Klein

De Minaur sets sights on Open success

NOW for next month's Australian Open.

That's the objective for Alex De Minaur after the teenager secured a precious December goal by nailing a main draw berth with Australian Open wildcard playoff victory.

Too steady for close friend Alex Bolt, De Minaur showcased impressive credentials with a resounding 6-2 6-1 6-7 (1-7) 6-1 triumph.

Ranked 208th in the world, De Minaur would have been strongly considered for a discretionary wildcard had he bypassed the playoff but decided to control his own destiny.

And by blazing a trail into the January 15-28 Open, De Minaur is guaranteed a hefty prizemoney cheque and the chance to further develop his burgeoning career.

Supremely fit and determined to learn as much as possible from Davis Cup figureheads Lleyton Hewitt and Jason Stoltenberg, De Minaur will contest the Australian Open for the second time.

Alex de Minaur with a backhander on the run. Picture: Michael Klein
Alex de Minaur with a backhander on the run. Picture: Michael Klein

In January, he posted a stunning five-set win over Austrian Gerald Melzer to reach the second round.

Against Bolt, he was mostly in control against a mercurial opponent.

But, just as victory beckoned the first time, he was unable to convert three virtual match points as Bolt staved off break points in the 11th game of the third set.

Reprieved, swashbuckling Bolt steamed through the tiebreak before De Minaur regained control with a service break in the second game of the fourth set and going on to take a 3-0 lead.

A second break for 4-0 catapulted the Spain-based tyro to an unassailable position.

De Minaur's victory enabled the New South Welshman to emulate the wildcard-winning feats of Omar Jasika, James Duckworth and Jordan Thompson.

Alex Bolt celebrates winning the third. Picture: Michael Klein
Alex Bolt celebrates winning the third. Picture: Michael Klein

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