At the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, 14th seed Alex de Minaur eased past former world No. 1 Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 to reach the second round.
This is the Australian’s first ATP Masters 1000 win of the year after losing in his opening rounds at Indian Wells and Miami.
The 35-year-old Brit, a three-time semifinalist, was making his first appearance in Monte-Carlo since 2017. This is the 10th time he has played in the event. Monte-Carlo is the only ATP Masters 1000 event, where he’s yet to reach the final.
De Minaur, who is 24, now leads their head-to-head 3-0.
On the famous red-clay center court, with the spectacular view of the Mediterranean, de Minaur, known as one of the fastest guys on tour, got off to a fast start, with a 4-love lead.
He looked sharp, playing with patience, not hesitating when he had opportunities. He finished points at the net. He pushed Murray back, then deployed the dropshot beautifully.
Murray looked off with his timing, like he had not yet found his rhythm on the clay. He made too many unforced errors. Murray did hold serve for 1-4, but de Minaur broke to take the set.
Early in the second set, Murray hit a glorious on-the-run backhand short cross winner, one of his favorite shots, with his soft-feel hands, and it felt like a moment that could give him confidence, and perhaps help him turn things around.
But then Murray missed one forehand wide, another into the net, gifting de Minaur the break.
The Australian looked in total control, always ready and positive, while the Brit looked frustrated, shaking his head, ranting to himself and his team.
For the match, de Minaur was just more solid with 12 winners and only 13 unforced errors, while Murray had nine winners and 29 unforced errors.
Afterward, in an interview with Tennis TV, the Australian said: “I’m extremely happy, especially being my first match on clay. It was never gonna be easy, but I was really happy with the way I started the match.
“And almost finished the match. To be honest, I had a little hiccup at the end where things got a little bit tight.
“And you know you’ve got so much respect for someone like Andy.
“So it’s always tough to finish a match like that, but I’m very happy with the win and happy to start my clay season.”
Next up for de Minaur is the big-hitting qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.
#Murray #Falls #Minaur