Australian Open: Alex de Minaur passes tough obstacle. Stefanos Tsitsipas wins

Milos Raonic retired against Alex de Minaur due to a hip injury

by Jovica Ilic
Australian Open: Alex de Minaur passes tough obstacle. Stefanos Tsitsipas wins
© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The home hero Alex de Minaur is off to a winning start at the Australian Open. Alex faced a tricky rival in the opening round, with a former semi-finalist Milos Raonic standing on the other side of the net. Milos claimed the opener before losing ground, struggling with a hip injury and retiring while trailing 6-7, 6-3, 2-0, experiencing another blow.

De Minaur delivered more efficient numbers behind the first serve, taming his strokes nicely and defending all four break points, three in the opening set. Raonic produced solid tennis before the injury, saving a set point in the opener and forging an early advantage.

Alex broke Milos once in the second set and again at the beginning of the third before the Canadian retired. Raonic made a reliable start, holding at love in the encounter's first game and creating two break chances at 1-0 with a deep return.

De Minaur denied them with fine hitting, holding for 1-1 and avoiding an early setback.

Milos Raonic, Australian Open 2024© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Milos controlled everything in his games and painted a backhand down the line winner in game six for a break chance.

Alex denied it with a forehand winner right after the serve and fired a backhand down the line winner for 3-3. The returners had no chances in the remaining games, as the rivals headed toward an expected tie break. Raonic took a medical timeout ahead of the tenth game and kept a high level.

The Canadian played a loose forehand at 4-4 in the tie break and pulled the mini-break back in the next point after the Aussie's double fault. Milos denied a set point at 5-6 with an ace and seized his opportunity at 7-6 after Alex's loose forehand, taking the opener after an hour.

They served well in the second set's opening five games before Raonic experienced issues at 2-3 after de Minaur's lob winner. The home favorite grabbed a break and served for the set at 5-3. Milos made one last push and earned a break point.

He squandered it with a forehand error and sprayed another at Alex's set point to fall two sets to love behind.

Alex de Minaur and Stefanos Tsitsipas are through to the Australian Open R2.

Struggling to serve or move, Raonic lost serve at the beginning of the third set before retiring after the third game's third point.

Last year's finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas struggled a bit early on against a lucky loser Zizou Bergs before earning a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory in two hours and 59 minutes. Stefanos landed 38 winners and 28 unforced errors and overpowered Zizou behind the first and second serve.

Bergs attacked, accumulating over 50 winners but fading from the court after the opening set. The Belgian grabbed two breaks and gave serve away seven times from 16 chances offered to the Greek, who kept everything under control from set number two.

Stefanos forged the advantage in the shortest and mid-range rallies, doing enough to find himself in the second round after three hours. A lucky loser made a confident start, with five comfortable holds on his tally. Bergs attacked on the return at 5-5 and grabbed a break after Tsitsipas' forehand error, serving for the opener in game 12.

Zizou survived three break points and fired an ace to wrap up the set 7-5 after 61 minutes. Stefanos won an entertaining point at the net in the second set's second game for a break and a boost of confidence. Tsitsipas played against two break points in game three, denying them with powerful forehands and moving 3-0 in front.

The Greek erased another break point in the fifth game with a booming serve and broke again after the Belgian's double fault in game six. Tsitsipas served for the set at 5-1 and held at 30 with a service winner, leveling the overall score and restoring the order.

With a boost on his side, Stefanos barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the third set, keeping the pressure on the other side. The 7th seed grabbed a break in the first game with a running forehand winner and held at 15 with a smash winner in the next one to cement the advantage.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Australian Open 2024© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Greek landed a forehand winner in the third game, claiming his third break in a row and moving 3-0 in front. Last year's finalist secured the sixth game with an ace and clinched another break at 5-1 to forge two sets to one advantage after two hours and 21 minutes.

There were no breaks at the start of the fourth set, and Stefanos changed that with a fine return game at 2-1, causing Zizou's volley error and moving closer to the finish line. With nothing working his way, Bergs sprayed a forehand error in the sixth game, experiencing another break and falling 5-1 behind.

Tsitsipas served for the victory in game seven and lost serve following the rival's lob winner. Zizou held at love in game eight, climbing back to 3-5 before Stefanos emerged at the top with a service winner in game nine.

Alex De Minaur Stefanos Tsitsipas Milos Raonic