Brisbane: n teenager Alex de Minaur has sprung a major upset at the Brisbane International, ending the tournament of big-serving fourth seed Milos Raonic in a stunning performance on Pat Rafter Arena.
The 18-year-old, who was born in Sydney but splits his time between and Spain, withstood the huge serve of the world number 24 to record a 6-4 6-4 victory, the biggest of his career by some margin.
He was lost for words after the victory, struggling to comprehend what just happened. Dressed in green and gold as if it were a Davis Cup tie, the Brisbane crowd responded in kind to help lift him over the line.
“I can’t believe it. It’s going to take a while for me to believe what just happened right now. I’m lost for words actually,” he told the Seven network.
“I was going to come out here and give it my all. I actually ended up playing an unbelievable match. It’s crazy. It’s honestly crazy.”
De Minaur, a wildcard in Brisbane with a world ranking of 208, was given little to no chance of unseating Canada’s Raonic, who beat Roger Federer in the final of this tournament in 2016 and is a former world number three.
It was Raonic’s first ATP event since October last year as he recovered from wrist and calf injuries but his record suggested he would be far too good for the n, who now finds himself in the quarter-finals of an ATP World Tour event.
There he will meet another wildcard, American Michael Mmoh, who upset eighth seed Mischa Zverev from Germany.
The withdrawal of big names like Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal have softened the draw to the extent that De Minaur may end up in a semi-final.
De Minaur played like had nothing to lose, then proceeded to do the exact opposite. Raonic helped his cause with a glut of unforced errors – 18 to just one off the racquet of de Minaur – but part of that was due to the pressure put on his serve by the youngster.
The n took on the Raonic serve early and produced some brilliant returns. He later admitted he was guessing, rather than reading, the serve but the results were the same.
“I was just guess, really. I’m not going to lie. I tried to change my returning position a bit. He probably didn’t have his best serving day, which helped me a bit.”
De Minaur has been working closely with Lleyton Hewitt, who was in the stands to enjoy a remarkable victory in a tournament that has already featured a series of unlikely results.