Alex de Minaur is ready for the Novak Djokovic challenge

Novak Djokovic and Alex de Minaur will battle at the United Cup

by Jovica Ilic
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Alex de Minaur is ready for the Novak Djokovic challenge
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Australia and Serbia will compete in Wednesday's United Cup quarter-final. Alex de Minaur will lead the home nation, facing world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in front of the home fans. While respecting Djokovic's level and two wins at the beginning of the year, de Minaur is eager to show his best tennis against a formidable rival, seeking his career-best victory.

Alex lost the opening United Cup match to Cameron Norrie after a massive battle. The home favorite ousted a top-10 rival Taylor Fritz in the second singles duel, playing well on serve and return and hoping for more against Djokovic.

The Serb quickly took down Zhizhen Zhang at the start of the year before facing Jiri Lehecka. Novak beat the young Czech 6-1, 6-7, 6-1, overcoming the right wrist issues and breaking the rival's resistance in the decider.

Alex de Minaur will face Novak Djokovic at the United Cup.

After battling at last year's Australian Open, Djokovic and de Minaur will play against each other for the second time.

Novak scored a dominant 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 triumph at Rod Laver Arena in two hours and six minutes, leaving the leg injury behind and marching into his 13th Australian Open quarter-final. Djokovic did everything right on serve and return, staying focused from start to finish and sending a clear message to his opponents.

Novak never faced a break point. He pushed strong on the return and turned over half of the return points into six breaks from 12 opportunities. De Minaur stayed below ten winners and lost ground in the shortest and more advanced exchanges.

Novak Djokovic, United Cup 2024© Will Russell / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak made a reliable start, serving well in the opener and breaking Alex two times for a boost. The Serb secured a break at love in the sixth game and wrapped up the set with another return game at 5-2.

Djokovic did everything right in set number two, giving away six points behind the initial shot and keeping the pressure on the other side. Novak secured breaks in games two and four, rattling off nine straight games for a 6-2, 5-0 advantage.

The Serb served for the set at 5-1, landing a backhand crosscourt winner for two sets to love advantage after 75 minutes. Djokovic outplayed de Minaur completely and raced into a 4-0 advantage in set number three. The Aussie saved a match point on serve at 1-5 with a service winner and held with another to extend the battle.

Novak served for the victory at 5-2 and sealed the deal with a service winner, securing a place in the quarter-final. "Novak's level is incredible. He made a solid start to the season, and beating him will be extremely tough. However, I'm looking forward to a challenge, hoping to show what I can do," Alex de Minaur said.

Alex De Minaur Novak Djokovic
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