Downcast de Minaur crashes out in first round

2 weeks ago 10
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Australia's Alex de Minaur says his recent bout with COVID-19 wasn't to blame for his first round exit at the US Open.

The 22-year-old was beaten by American Taylor Fritz, 7-6, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4, continuing a disappointing US hardcourt season for de Minaur.

Currently ranked 17 in the world, the Australian is likely to drop out of the top 20 after the US Open.

He was a late withdrawal from the Australian team for the Tokyo Olympics, after testing positive to COVID-19.

"It's been tough, post-COVID," de Minaur said.

"I felt way better today, today wasn't a matter of COVID or anything like that, it was a high-level match and Taylor played better in the big moments and I didn't take my opportunities.

Alex de Minaur is out of the US Open after losing to Taylor Fritz. (Getty)

"He deserved to win, he was the better guy out there."

Fritz had not previously taken a set off de Minaur in their three tour-level meetings, but the Australian was adamant that counted for nothing at the US Open.

"It's obviously a different stage, we're playing at his home slam with a big court, and he rose to the occasion," he explained.

"I feel like I had plenty of opportunities, a bit of same-old, same-old.

"If I take my opportunities we're looking at a very different match."

The Australian has now lost five of his last six matches, since winning his fifth career title at Eastbourne before Wimbledon.

His only victory in that timeframe came over Filip Krajinovic in Cincinnati, where de Minaur came back after dropping the first set 6-0 to win in three.

Asked by Wide World of Sports to assess where it had gone wrong, de Minaur was downcast.

"Not in the slightest what I wanted my US summer to be, due to whatever factors," he said.

"I still haven't felt like myself, haven't played the way I want to play, it's very disappointing.

"There's nothing I can do about it now, but try to move on."

A quarter-finalist in New York last year, the Australian hasn't received any favours from the draw at either Wimbledon or the US Open, where, as a seed, he's faced relatively tough first round matches.

He played Sebastian Korda at Wimbledon, seen by many as a future star, while Fritz is currently ranked 42, having been as high as 24 in the world last year.

"At the end of the day, both those matches I've had chances to take it home," de Minaur explained.

"I just haven't played well in the big moments, maybe against another opponent you can get away with that.

"But against quality guys like Taylor and Seb, they're going to make you pay for it.

"That's what happened today."

De Minaur said he's not sure what long-term impact his brush with COVID-19 will have, or how soon he can find his best tennis.

"It's a tough one to answer, there's two factors that jump into the equation. It's a physical factor, and a confidence factor," he said.

"It hasn't really helped out these last couple of weeks, so trying to get back to my old self, hopefully it comes sooner rather than later."

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