Alex de Minaur crashes back to earth in brutal tennis development after Rafa Nadal heroics

The Aussie tennis star was knocked out of the Barcelona Open by French teen Arthur Fils.

Just 24 hours after Alex de Minaur created history by beating Rafa Nadal at the Barcelona Open, he crashed out of the tournament, losing in straight sets to French teenager Arthur Fils. On Wednesday de Minaur became the first Australian to better the 22-time grand slam winner on clay, doing so in impressive fashion.

Against Nadal, the 25-year-old showed his youthful exuberance, moving the Spaniard around the court and wearing him down in one of the best wins of his career. But De Minaur had very little time to savour his win, bowing out of the tournament the very next day as he was run off the court by Fils.

Just 24 hours after Alex de Minaur created history by beating Rafa Nafal at the Barcelona Open, he crashed out at the hands of French teenager Arthur Fils. Image: Getty
Just 24 hours after Alex de Minaur created history by beating Rafa Nafal at the Barcelona Open, he crashed out of the tournament, losing in straight sets to French teenager Arthur Fils. Image: Getty

The young Frenchman gave de Minaur a taste of his own medicine, moving him all around the court before ultimately overpowering the Aussie 7-5 6-2 on Thursday in the last-16 tie. It is the latest win for the 19-year-old who is widely regarded as one of the up-and-coming stars of the sport, already climbing to No.36 in the world and rising fast.

In the round of 16 match, De Minaur started strong taking a 5-3 lead in the opening set but Fils soon found his groove and racked seven consecutive games, overpowering the Aussie who has long struggled with the physicality of clay courts. As Fils ran away with the second set, the World No.11 dug deep at 5-1 down, breaking the Frenchman's serve and then saving match point. But it wasn't enough as Fils regathered his composure and closed out the match in an hour and 35 minutes to book a quarter-final date with Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 18: Alex de Minaur of France plays a forehand against Arthur Fils of Australia during their match of day four of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell at Real Club De Tenis Barcelona on April 18, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex de Minaur was run off the court by Arthur Fils at the Barcelona Open.

Jordan Thompson bows out of Barcelona Open

While things didn't go much better for Australia's No.2 Jordan Thompson at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, with his bid to make the quarter-finals promptly shut down by double French Open finalist Casper Ruud. The Norwegian powered past the Aussie 6-1 6-4 in barely an hour.

Thompson struggled with blisters to his racquet hand early on as he attempted to deal with the Norwegian's powerful ground strokes. Ruud raced to a 5-0 lead before Thompson could get anything going before closing out the first set 6-1.

The second set was more competitive but Ruud was still in complete control, winning the second 6-4 to take the match. The win was Ruud's 26th of 2024, the most of any player this season, one clear of Jannik Sinner.

Jordan Thompson is playing against Casper Ruud in the round of 16 of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, 71st Conde de Godo Trophy, at the Real Club de Tennis Barcelona 1899, in Barcelona, Spain, on April 18, 2024. (Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Australia's No.2 Jordan Thompson also was swept aside at the Barcelona Open, losing in straight sets to Casper Ruud

Rafa Nadal vows to bounce back after Barcelona Open exit

After his loss to de Minaur, the Spanish great said an emotional farewell to the Barcelona Open, his beloved tournament that he's won a dozen times. Nadal made it clear after being outplayed 7-5 6-1 by de Minaur that this was going to be his last competitive performance on the court named after him at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona.

But the 37-year-old, who was playing in his first tournament in three months, said he was happy to have just made it onto the court at Barcelona. "At least I had the chance to say goodbye here on court," Nadal said.

"That means a lot to me because I felt one week ago that I was not able to play in this event. That would have been painful, so at least I played, I enjoyed the game, and now is the moment to keep going."


The Spaniard went down in typically battling fashion to de Minaur and showed glimpses of his best in his return from injury and Nadal took plenty of positives out of the tournament. "I didn't practise a lot so that performance encourages me to keep going," Nadal said.

"It tells me that, if I'm able to spend days on the tour and keep practising with the players, I really hope and believe that I can keep being competitive if my body allows me to push the way that I need."

with AAP