De Minaur into the last-32 at Wimbledon but Saville out

Ian Chadband |

Australia’s Alex de Minaur has cruised into round three at Wimbledon.
Australia’s Alex de Minaur has cruised into round three at Wimbledon.

Alex de Minaur has disposed of a familiar opponent to rattle into the last-32 of Wimbledon in the sunshine, before reaffirming his desire to “go deep” into the tournament.

But there was only heartbreak for his fellow national No.1 Daria Saville, who saw a match point for one of her best grand slam wins disappear, before losing agonisingly 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 to 18th seed Marta Kostyuk. Her defeat ended the Australian women’s challenge at the championships.

De Minaur overcame a couple of concerns in the third set against Spain’s Jaume Munar, a clay-court specialist he beat comfortably at the French Open, before repeating the dose on Thursday on the No.3 showcourt, winning 6-2 6-2 7-5.

Munar, whose serve was broken eight times by the No.9 seed, was no match for de Minaur but the Sydneysider was left a little frustrated by his failure to not get the job done more convincingly in the third set when he was broken three times, including once when serving for the match.

But there was never any realistic doubt about the outcome as de Minaur wrapped up victory in just over a couple of hours to set up the prospect of a third round against Thanasi Kokkinakis, should the latter beat French qualifier Lucas Pouille later on Thursday (Friday AEST).

De Minaur had looked in the mood to race to victory so quickly against an opponent struggling with double-fault trouble – Munar coughed up nine in total – that he would be able to finish before his girlfriend, British No.1 Katie Boulter, started her all-British election day special against Harriet Dart.

“I might have made it for the start if I hadn’t got broken in the last set,” he told the crowd afterwards.

“But I’ll shower, cool down and do my best to get over there to support Katie.

“This is always the surface I’ve enjoyed playing on, it’s special to play at Wimbledon and hopefully I can go deep into the tournament now.”

Looking comfortable from the start against the world No.63 who he used to play against regularly as a junior when living in Spain, de Minaur grabbed an immediate break to take command and sailed away to a two-set lead without giving up a sniff of a break point.

He had the chance to seal the deal at 3-5 on Munar’s serve, but missed out on three match points before the Spaniard, out of the blue, broke him for the first time to love. It was, though, just a short reprieve before de Minaur broke again and then sealed his triumph with his eighth ace to go with his 23 winners. 

Daria Saville
Daria Saville had a match point to reach the Wimbledon third round but could not take it. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Earlier, Saville, on another showcourt, 14, had looked as if she would dash to victory after taking the first set and a 4-1 lead over Kostyuk, slicing her opponent to distraction while the Ukrainian sprayed around errors wildly.

But Kostyuk started to find some form and the turning point came in a monumental game with Saville serving for the match at 6-5. It lasted for nearly 20 minutes, and though Saville earned one match point, it was repelled and the Ukrainian eventually prevailed on her own eighth break point before winning the tie-break.

From there, 30-year-old ‘Dasha’, whose first-round win over Peyton Stearns had been her first main-draw Wimbledon win in six years, was on the back foot, but, typically, never stopped fighting. She fended off five match points herself before finally succumbing after an extraordinary three-hour 12 minute duel.

Kostyuk, who had been making headlines at Wimbledon for sporting a replica of her wedding dress on court, had looked like a jilted bride for the first half of the contest in which she produced 57 unforced errors, but eventually broke down in tears of joy.

AAP