WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Australian Open tips as homegrown Alex de Minaur strives for a maiden quarter-final berth up against fellow boom youngster Jannik Sinner.

Australian Open Tips – Alex de Minaur V Jannik Sinner

17:00 (AEDT), Mon 24th Jan @ Melbourne Park

History: Played 2: Sinner 2 V de Minaur 0

First meeting: Sofia Open, 2020 (QF): Sinner d de Minaur 6-7 6-4 6-1

Final Thoughts: Aussie livewire Alex de Minaur lines up for one of the biggest matches of his career after reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time. But he’ll start as a firm underdog up against in-form 11th seed Jannik Sinner.

De Minaur, the 32nd seed, has barely put a foot wrong since dropping the first set in his opening assignment against Lorenzo Mussetti. He accounted for Kamil Majchrzak and Pablo Andujar in straight sets, dropping just one service game across the two victories.

The 22-year-old Sydneysider has been beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam just once – at the 2020 US Open.

De Minaur takes a sizeable step up in class of opponent here, though, against tournament dark horse Sinner. The 20-year-old Italian disposed of Joao Sousa and Steve Johnson in straight sets, before overcoming a second-set stumble to beat Taro Daniel in four.

Sinner stormed up the rankings in 2021 with four ATP titles and a Miami Open final appearance. But after a breakout quarter-final run at the 2020 French Open – just his third major – the tyro has had a mixed run on the Grand Slam stage, mixing three Round of 16 runs with three first-round exits.

De Minaur is a bracing for an onslaught of powerful baseline hitting, with Sinner striking the ball superbly in an unbeaten start to 2022.

Sinner has won both previous encounters between the tyros. He prevailed in the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals and outlasted de Minaur in the 2020 Sofia Open quarter-finals after losing a first-set tiebreak.

De Minaur won’t be bothered by the outsider tag and is no stranger to upsetting higher-ranked young guns. He rolled Matteo Berrettini and Ugo Humbert during the ATP Cup earlier this month and defeated Cristian Garin at Indian Wells in October.

De Minaur will thrive on the home crowd support and his court coverage and boundless energy is sure to frustrate Sinner. It may not be quite enough to become the first Aussie quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park since Nick Kyrgios in 2015, but I’m backing him to take this match into deep waters.

Tip: Games Handicap – de Minaur +4.5 @ $1.90


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