Match Report

De Minaur Downs Nadal In United Cup Thriller

Parrizas Diaz levels tie for Spain
January 02, 2023
Alex de Minaur prevails against Rafael Nadal in a dramatic United Cup battle on Monday in Sydney.
Tennis Australia
Alex de Minaur prevails against Rafael Nadal in a dramatic United Cup battle on Monday in Sydney. By ATP/WTA Staff

Alex de Minaur delivered a stunning performance under the lights in Sydney Monday when he overcame World No. 2 Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 to give Team Australia a 1-0 lead against Team Spain in Group D at the United Cup.

With a capacity crowd watching on, the 23-year-old rallied from a set-and-a-break down to earn the biggest win of his career by Pepperstone ATP Ranking after two hours and 44 minutes.

"I think it's definitely up there [as one of my best wins]," De Minaur said. "It's one of those achievements that you have unlocked in your career. But also, it's a big win for myself, one that I really needed. I'm gonna cherish and use, take all the confidence from this and be able to hopefully take it to have a good Aussie summer.

"It's always a surreal experience playing here. Just walking out there and hearing the support I get on that court is pretty special. No secret [that] it is my favourite court to play on in front of friends and family. I've had so many great memories, and I've been able to add another one to it. I'm extremely stoked."

In a thrilling encounter, De Minaur showed an abundance of grit and quality to delight his raucous home supporters. The World No. 24 scampered around the baseline to hang in rallies, shortening his backswing off his groundstrokes to take away time from Nadal and turn the tables. With his statement victory, the 23-year-old improved to 1-3 in his ATP Head2Head series against Nadal.

De Minaur, who lost against Briton Cameron Norrie in his opening match of the season, has now earned eight Top 10 wins in his career.

Nadal, who also fell to Norrie at the mixed-teams event, tasted success on Australian soil last year, winning an ATP 250 title in Melbourne before he lifted his second Australian Open trophy. However, he is still searching for his first win of the new season.

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After a slow start on Ken Rosewall Arena, Nadal came to life. He rallied from a break down in the first set, consistently hitting his spots on serve while he pulled De Minaur around the court with his heavy forehand, striking an array of winners to lead.

However, after Nadal gained an early break at the start of the second set, momentum quickly shifted as De Minaur started to time the ball cleanly to force the Spaniard back. The Australian began to find great depth on return, locking down from the baseline to enjoy success on Nadal’s serve and level.

With a third set left to decide the clash, it was De Minaur who found a way, gaining the decisive break in the 11th game before holding his nerve to triumph. The 23-year-old let out a roar following his win before he embraced Nadal at the net.

Though neither Spain or Australia can advance out of the group after Great Britain sealed their position as Group D winners on Sunday, Nuria Parrizas Diaz stepped up and delivered Spain a morale-boosting victory against Australian Maddison Inglis.

Parrizas Diaz rebounded well from her 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 loss to Great Britain's Katie Swan in her opening match. The World No.70 dominated the 179th-ranked Australian with a blistering baseline game to earn her first win of the season. Parrizas Diaz saved all five break points she faced, while taking advantage of Inglis' second serve. Inglis won just 19% of her second-serve points and was broken four times in the 1 hour and 26 minute encounter.

The tie concludes on Tuesday, with Spanish No. 1 Paula Badosa to face Zoe Hives and Pablo Carreno Busta scheduled to face Jason Kubler.

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