‘Lucky’ Alex de Minaur wins armchair ride into Wimbledon final-16

Alex de Minaur has declared he’s a lucky man following his comfy armchair ride into the second week of Wimbledon.

The Australia No 1 eased into the second week of the grass-court grand slam for just the second time, after needing just two straight-set wins and a walkover to get to the business end of the tournament.

‘Demon’, who had never before in his 74-match grand-slam singles career, been given the bonus of a walkover win following Lucas Pouille’s injury withdrawal, believes it’s the most stress-free passage he’s ever had into the business end of a major.

While many rivals, including his fourth-round opponent Arthur Fils, were left with frustrating delays on another rain-interrupted day, de Minaur had the luxury of a relaxing Saturday once his third-round adversary Pouille withdrew with a stomach muscle injury.

De Minaur ended up praising the “class act” of the former French No 1, who informed him an hour-and-three-quarters before they were due on court on Saturday morning that he was pulling out.

Alex de Minaur plays a backhand return in his second round win over Spain’s Jaume Munar. Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/AP

“Yeah, definitely lucky. Probably the times this goes the most noticed is when you have days, like today and even tomorrow, when the weather is just not good,” said de Minaur, who has reached the fourth round in a fourth-straight grand slam and is now favourite to make his first quarter-final appearance at SW19.

“So I’m definitely lucky this has happened and I can switch off and already look forward to the next match and put some work in to prepare for that.

“I went from having to have probably a very long, stop-start day waiting at the courts, to being able to move on quite quickly and get ready for the next one.”

De Minaur said he found out at about 9.15am when he was in the middle of his physical warm-up before going on-court, after the 30-year-old Pouille himself approached him to let him know he wasn’t fit to play.

De Minaur cheers on girlfriend Katie Boulter from the stands in her match against Harriet Dart. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

“I think it was a class act by him, letting me know early in the day, especially with the weather forecast showing it could be delayed for a long time,” said de Minaur.

skip past newsletter promotion

“I’m wishing him a quick recovery. And as for me, I’m probably a little bit relieved. Just because everyone knew the type of day that was coming, that it was going to be a long one and I was able to finish quite quickly.”

Next up for de Minaur will be Fils, the exciting 20-year-old French world No 34, who had to battle for three-and-a-quarter hours against Russia’s 44th-ranked Roman Safiullin in their rain-interrupted match before prevailing 4-6 6-3 1-6 6-4 6-3.

Getting to the fourth round is now becoming commonplace for de Minaur. A sign that the Australian is beginning to feel he belongs among the elite is that he’s now made the second week at seven out of the last 11 grand slams after only achieving the feat twice in his first 17.

He has made it look very comfortable so far. De Minaur enjoyed two three-set wins against fellow Australian James Duckworth and Spain’s Jaume Maunar in his opening two matches.

“Getting to second week is a great start, and I’m looking forward to hopefully pushing for more,” said de Minaur. “The first week is about doing anything you can to stay alive, right? And then once you’re able to kind of get through that first week, I feel like it’s a completely new tournament.”

“As I’ve said for a long time, this is where I’ve wanted to be.”

The Guardian