Dreamer de Minaur eyes Open quarter-finals

Alex de Minaur says he is
Alex de Minaur says he is "living the dream" at the Australian Open.

By his own account, Alex de Minaur is "living the dream" at Melbourne Park and Australia's last man standing won't die wondering against Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open fourth round.

Two and a bit years after squaring off for the prestigious season-ending crown at the 2019 Next Gen Finals in Turin, de Minaur and Sinner have arrived on the grand slam big stage.

A place in the quarter-finals is in the offing for 20-year-old Sinner, the fast rising world No.10, and de Minaur, who seems to have been around for an age yet is still only 22.

It's taken de Minaur five years to venture beyond the first week in Melbourne and the home hope doesn't plan on letting his big opportunity slip.

"We're not done," de Minaur said as he bids to become the first Australian to make the men's Open quarter-finals since Nick Kyrgios in 2015.

"I'm happy with where my level is at, so I'm just at the moment taking care of business.

"I'm very happy I was able to do that in the first week of the slam

"I'm at my home slam doing what I love. I'm living the dream."

But the Sydneysider knows he must take his game to new heights to bring down Sinner, the 188cm-tall young gun earmarked for super-stardom.

"I hit with Jannik in Sydney. I've hit with him a lot," de Minaur said.

"I've played him. I know what's coming: immense firepower.

"I'm going to have to be ready to not get bullied around the court and really take it to him.

"That's definitely the game plan. To take it to these top guys, you've got to be aggressive and really take it to them.

"You can't just sit back and let them bully you around."

A US Open quarter-finalist in 2020, de Minaur rose to No.17 in the world last August before a bout of COVID-19 ruined the second half of his season last year.

Now ranked 42nd, he vowed to add more power to his game in 2022 in a bid to take the next step at the slams.

With a win over world No.7 and 2021 Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini in Sydney already this summer, and now his charge to the Open's last 16, de Minaur is clearly moving in the right direction.

"That was a focus, to really kind of step that up and just have aggressive mindset," he said.

"I'm happy I've been able to start the year playing that way, and playing some great tennis and getting the results thanks to that.

"Now it's all about just keep building on that."

Australian Associated Press