Alex De Minaur is optimistic that his less than ideal start in the United Cup could potentially bring positive outcomes.

Australia experienced a disappointing start at the United Cup, but Alex de Minaur sees his loss to Cameron Norrie as a potential positive for 2024.
De Minaur struggled initially in the match against Norrie, but he fought back and forced a deciding third set before ultimately losing 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) in a match that lasted two hours and 20 minutes. Great Britain then took an unassailable lead in the tie after Katie Boulter defeated Ajla Tomljanović 6-2, 6-4.
In the final mixed doubles rubber of the night, Storm Hunter and Matt Ebden secured a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) win over Boulter and Neal Skupski, reducing Australia’s final deficit to 2-1.
This victory, featuring the newly crowned world No 1 doubles player Hunter, could play a crucial role in Australia’s quest to reach the quarter-finals. However, they face a daunting task as they now rely on the USA defeating Great Britain on Sunday, followed by their own victory against the Americans the next day.
De Minaur’s loss to Norrie in last year’s United Cup was a rare setback in the 24-year-old’s season. He bounced back from that defeat by defeating Rafael Nadal in his next match and claiming five victories against top-10 opponents throughout the year. Now, he is aiming for even greater success in 2024.
“Last year, I lost to Norrie in straight sets and ended up having a pretty good year,” said de Minaur. “This year, I lost to Cam again, but this time in a third-set tiebreak. Hopefully, that means I’m going to have an even better year.
“At the start of the year, you don’t want to judge your entire year based on one match. Sometimes there’s a bit of rust. In the past couple of years, I haven’t always started at my best. Ultimately, my focus is on the Australian Open. Of course, I want to perform well for my country here as well, and I’ll do everything in my power to bounce back and be ready for the next match.”
De Minaur struggled heavily in the first set, making four unforced errors in the opening game alone, which led to him being broken. “I had a terrible first game, and it ended up costing me the set,” he admitted. “I didn’t feel my best out there. It’s the first match of the new season, and there has been a quick turnaround. I wasn’t as sharp as I could have been.”
He found his rhythm in the second set but faltered in the third-set tiebreak, eventually losing due to a double fault. “I’ve played many matches when I’ve been under more pressure than that, so I don’t think pressure was the reason for my double fault,” de Minaur explained.
Meanwhile, Tomljanović struggled to find her form throughout the match, hitting only 11 winners compared to Boulter’s 25. Boulter, who happens to be de Minaur’s girlfriend, converted all three of her break point opportunities, while Tomljanović failed to convert any of her six chances.
Earlier in the day, Beatriz Haddad Maia’s efforts fell short as Brazil lost 2-1 to Spain in a tense opening match of the United Cup in Perth. World No.26 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina convincingly defeated Thiago Seyboth Wild, ranked No. 79 in the world, with a score of 6-4, 6-0. Haddad Maia then leveled the tie for Brazil by defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-6 (7-1), 6-2. However, Spain ultimately secured the victory by winning the deciding mixed doubles match 6-4, 7-5.

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