Australian Open: De Minaur overcomes Bonzi, Shelton continues his dream debut

Home favourite Alex de Minaur equalled his best result at the Australian Open on Saturday when he cruised past Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-1 to reach the fourth round for a second consecutive year.

After winning a tight first set, in which he twice squandered break advantages, the Australian pulled away, committing just 12 unforced errors in the second and third sets combined to seal victory after two hours and 10 minutes.

With his fourth victory of the season, De Minaur now leads Bonzi 3-0 in their ATP Head to Head series. He will look to keep his run going when he takes on nine-time champion Novak Djokovic or 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.

The 23-year-old’s best result at a major came at the US Open in 2020, when he advanced to the quarter-finals.

In another clash of the day, Tommy Paul wasted little time in reaching the fourth round in Australian Open for the first time. The American overcame countryman Jenson Brooksby 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 to set up a clash against five-time finalist Andy Murray or Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

Paul, who is up to No. 33 in the ATP Live Rankings, struck 34 winners and saved all four break points he faced to seal victory after two hours and nine minutes. With his win, the 25-year-old has equalled his best Grand Slam result, having advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.

Meanwhile, Ben Shelton continued his dream debut at the Australian Open after he advanced to the fourth with a win over home favourite Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4.

The 20-year-old saved all four break points he faced to become the fifth man to reach the Round of 16 on his Australian Open debut in the past 10 years. The fourth player to accomplish the feat, J.J. Wolf did so earlier in the day and will also be Shelton’s next opponent.

The American hit 34 winners and made just 25 unforced errors against Popyrin, who had upset Top 10 star Taylor Fritz in the second round. He converted two of his eight break points and won 87 per cent of his first-serve points to triumph after two hours inside John Cain Arena.

Shelton cracked the Top 100 for the first time in November 2022, and is now No. 65 in the ATP Live Rankings. His next opponent, Wolf, defeated countryman Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 earlier in the day.

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