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De Minaur Matches Hewitt's Record, Advances In Tokyo

Popyrin reaches last eight
October 19, 2023
Alex de Minaur reached his 10th quarter-final of the season on Thursday in Tokyo. By ATP Staff

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 Aslan Karatsev after the World No. 50 defeated Zhang Zhizhen 6-3, 6-4.

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 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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