Australian Open: Alex De Minaur wins Grand Slam debut against Gerald Melzer

Australian Open: Alex De Minaur wins Grand Slam debut against Gerald Melzer

The youngest player in the field won a five-set marathon to claim his maiden win at a major on the first time of asking against the Austrian.

john-lupo
John Lupo

Alex De Minaur, the youngest player in the draw, won his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open, defeating Austrian Gerald Melzer 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1. At 17, De Minaur is the youngest player in the draw.

Melzer takes opening set with late break

De Minaur was under immediate pressure as he faced 15-40 on his serve, but was able to swat away both break points. In the sixth game, the Aussie wild card had two chances to break, but Melzer did well to hang on and keep the set on serve.

The Austrian would bypass two more chances in each of the next two De Minaur service games, but at 5-5, he finally converted when at 30-40, the 17-year old dumped a forehand into the net. Melzer served out the set to 30 to take a one-set lead.

De Minaur takes break-filled second set to level match

The second set saw Melzer take the initiative with an opening break only to be pegged back by his youthful opponent. This time, De Minaur would break for a 3-1 lead only to see Melzer respond to restore parity in the set. The sixth game would see six deuces and 14 points played, the result a Melzer hold.

The Austrian's next service game was the decisive moment of the set when he fell behind 0-40 only to save all three break points. De Minaur would get a fourth chance and when Melzer pushed a backhand volley long, the Aussie led 5-3. He confidently closed the set out on serve to level the match at one set all.

Melzer runs away with third set to take two sets to one lead

Once again, it was the Austrian on the front foot and he quickly raced to a 0-40 lead on De Minaur's serve in the second game. A perfectly angled volley forced a lob from the wild card that went long and Melzer was in front 2-0.

De Minaur would respond and he eventually broke back to get the proceedings on even terms, but in the sixth game, Melzer again went in front when a limp backhand found the bottom of the net from De Minaur. Ahead 4-2, the Austrian would eventually get a closing break to take a two sets to one lead.

De Minaur saves match point, takes fourth set in tiebreaker to force deciding set

The first chances of the fourth set fell to De Minaur as he built a 15-40 lead in the third game only to see Melzer come through with clutch play to save his skin and hold. He'd use that momentum to break in the next game to take a 3-1 lead, the finish line now in sight.

As the rest of the set went according to form, Melzer served for the match at 5-3. He fell behind 0-40 and after saving two break points, he couldn't save a third as his backhand chip went long.

Melzer would get another chance to close out the match with a break point on De Minaur's serve, but the wild card expertly saved it. The set would go to a tiebreak and De Minaur would dominate, going ahead 3-0 and never looking back, closing out the tiebreaker 7-2 to force a fifth and deciding set.

De Minaur blows through final set to advance

Playing like a seasoned veteran, De Minaur raced through the final set, breaking for a 2-0 lead when another backhand chip from Melzer found the bottom of the net. He'd break to love in the fourth game and cruise from there, putting the victory away with a forehand winner, the 17-year old on to the second round and a meeting with 31st seed Sam Querrey.

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