After spending the last two months ranked 31st, the 19-year-old Alex de MInaur has finally cracked the top-30 this week for the first time, entering the home event in Sydney as the 5th seed and one of the title favorites after playing in his maiden ATP title match in his native town a year ago.
Just like in 2918, an explosive youngster is having a great run in Brisbane and Sydney at the beginning of the season, already scoring five wins and advancing into the last four in Sydney after a tough 7-6, 6-3 win over another Sydney native Jordan Thompson in just under two hours.
Two great friends had a chance to play for the second consecutive week and Alex had to work harder than in Brisbane to emerge as the winner, praising Jordan's game and saying it is always tough to compete against someone who is almost like an older brother to him.
Thompson gave his best to stay in touch with a younger and better-ranked opponent, breaking back in the very last moment of the opening set and creating the same number of break chances as Alex, only to fall short and finish his run in the quarters.
"It's always really tough to play a mate and a guy that I've grown up with and pretty seen as a big brother to me. There was a lot of outside factors coming into this match, nerves, playing another Aussie, it is all tough but I'm very happy that I was able to get the win.
I've managed to stick tight and I had a little bit of a lapse of concentration in the first set and managed to fight back, so I am very proud of my efforts. I knew Jordan was going to fight for every ball and he's ridiculously quick and never gives up and I think that's one of the things you look for as an Australian player.
I knew there was going to be very long rallies and that I really going to have to play my best tennis to beat him. I'm happy to get the win and I wish him all the best for the next week. I'm really looking forward to watching the Millman vs Simon match.
Hopefully, Johnny can get the win and we can have an all-Australian semi-final. I hope the crowd will support him and get him over the line."