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De Minaur downs Medvedev to reach Roland-Garros quarter-finals

Alex De Minaur Alex De Minaur - The Canadian Press

PARIS (AP) — The terrible weather at the French Open produced a surprisingly positive outcome for Alex de Minaur.

It turned him into a clay court believer.

De Minaur reached the quarterfinals in Paris for the first time on Monday after beating former U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.

“Looks like I’ve converted myself into a clay specialist,” de Minaur said, laughing.

Standing in his path to a first major semifinal will be No. 4 Alexander Zverev, who beat No. 13 Holger Rune 4-6, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-2 in a match that started on Monday night and finished at 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday.

De Minaur reached the last eight against his own expectations, during a tournament hit by five consecutive days of rain delays and scheduling chaos at Roland Garros.

“It’s pretty extraordinary, if you ask me. I always thought that for me to play well on the clay I needed hot, lively conditions," the 25-year-old Australian said. "But, you know, this whole tournament has proven otherwise, right? It’s been a complete shock to the system, to everything I ever believed in.”

He's bracing himself for some merciless teasing over his self-professed ability — or lack of — on clay.

“Now the toughest thing is dealing with my team. They’ve got bragging rights,” he said, smiling wryly. "They gave me a lot of slack for me complaining all these years of my level on the clay.”

After toppling the fifth-seeded Medvedev, de Minaur turned to his box and yelled something special at them.

“I screamed ‘I love the clay. I love it here. I can’t get enough,’” he revealed, laughing again.

His only other major quarterfinal appearance was four years ago at the U.S. Open. He's the first Australian man through to the last eight at Roland Garros since former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 20 years ago. De Minaur was too young to recall that.

De Minaur is excited about Australian tennis, which has nine players in the top 100 of the ATP rankings, even without the absent and injured Nick Kyrgios. The 2022 Wimbledon runner-up has a lingering wrist injury.

No. 100 is Thanasi Kokkinakis, who was in the crowd at Court Suzanne Lenglen to cheer on de Minaur.

“I’ve got Kokkinakis watching me, supporting me. It’s great to see,” de Minaur said. “Unbelievable feeling to just know that you’ve got the support of your teammates and ultimately your mates on tour.”


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