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De Minaur wins clash of Aussie youngsters

Alex de Minaur has booked a place in the Brisbane International second round after easily beating fellow Australian Alexei Popyrin.

De Minaur wins clash of Aussie youngsters

Alex de Minaur has booked a place in the Brisbane International second round after easily beating fellow Australian Alexei Popyrin.

Alex de Minaur has tuned up for the summer by clinically dispatching fellow Australian youngster Alexei Popyrin to reach the Brisbane International second round.

De Minaur was superior in all aspects of the game to his fellow 19-year-old Sydney product, winning 6-2 6-2 in just over an hour at Pat Rafter Arena on Tuesday.


De Minaur, ranked 31st in the world, will face another Australian in Jordan Thompson ahead of a possible quarter-final clash with Rafael Nadal, who meets French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round.

While the scoreline suggested otherwise, de Minaur played down the ease of his start to the summer against 147th-ranked Popyrin.

"It was a tough match. There was definitely a sort of nervous aspect to it playing Alexei, who I know well and is my age as well," he said.

"And it's a big opportunity for both of us. I just had to be on top and play very good tennis.

"Alexei has got a hell of a game and he's extremely dangerous.

"Once he starts believing, and that's pretty much just having years and just playing matches and tournaments and playing at the ATP level ... he's just going to be able to play guys off the court."

Expectations are high de Minaur is primed to have his best Australian Open campaign by improving on his second-round exit two years ago.

But he rejected suggestions of added pressure this season given his Australian No.1 status, claiming he had not set any goals.

Nor would he entertain the prospect of facing Nadal before it had come to fruition.

"Still got a very tough match to go up against tomorrow, another Aussie, and either way it's just going to be really tough," he said.

Thompson progressed past the first round with a 6-3 6-0 win over Alex Bolt on Tuesday.

AAP


AAP




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