Rising Australian star Alex de Minaur is happy to be back at the place where it all started for him. De Minaur, 19, kicked off his Brisbane International run in style as he saw off fellow compatriot Alexei Popyrin 6-2 6-2 to reach the round-of-16.
The 19-year-old's first notable run at an ATP event came a year ago at the Brisbane International when he reached the semi-final as a wildcard. The Australian then went on to have an outstanding season, which included runner-up finishes at the Sydney International, Citi Open in Washington and the NextGen ATP Finals.
"I'm incredibly happy to be back here – I mean this is where it all started for me and it just feels amazing playing on this court in front of these amazing fans," de Minaur said post-match during his on-court interview, per Tennis Australia.
"Once you have that full year on tour you're sort of used to playing these matches and you don't come into court as nervous." Popyrin, the 2017 French Open boys' singles champion, is enjoying his career-high ranking of No.
147 in the world. 19-year-old Popyrin didn't have a great Brisbane debut but de Minaur remains confident that he will improve going forward. "Alexei is a hell of a player and he's gonna play some incredible tennis over the Australian summer.
It was just a match where were were both a bit nervous. A big opportunity for both of us. And today I played better," de Minaur said. De Minaur plays next another Australian, Jordan Thompson. Also read: John Millman ready for Grigor Dimitrov challenge