October 10, 2018
Australian Matthew Ebden has registered the biggest win of his 13-year professional career, downing world No 7 Dominic Thiem from the second round of the Shanghai Masters.
Journeyman Ebden, who has had a breakout season at 30 years of age, hung tough to beat the French Open finalist 6-4, 6-7 (10-8), 7-6 (7-4).
Ebden twice came within two points of the match in the second set but it was his recovery from failing to serve out the contest in the decider that spoke most about his resilience.
After breaking the Austrian’s serve to lead 6-5, Ebden had a match point only to lose it when Thiem struck flukey let cord.
He handed back the break but steeled himself for the tiebreaker, leading from start to finish to claim it and the match.
He’ll now take on German Peter Gojowczyk for a spot in the quarter-finals, where another win could propel him into the world’s top 40 for the first time in his career.
It adds to a stellar 2018 for the veteran Australian who has recorded equal-best finishes at all four Grand Slams.
Meanwhile Alex de Minaur’s late season charge has continued with the Australian winning through to the second round.
De Minaur held his nerve to beat big-serving Canadian Vasek Pospisil, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
The 19-year-old held on to an early break and kept his nose ahead in the first set.
Pospisil couldn’t crack the world No 33, blowing five break point opportunities including four in one game.
Games stayed on serve in the second set which went to a tiebreaker.
De Minaur then made quick inroads into the Canadian’s serve, streaking ahead to a 6-1 advantage.
It took four match points but he eventually served out the match.
The Sydneysider will look to capture more rankings points in the Masters series tournament as he closes in on a top 32 ranking and seeding for next year’s Australian Open.
De Minaur will next take on French qualifier Benoit Paire, who upset 15th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-4.
But waiting in the wings for the newly minted Australian No 1 is world No 5 Alexander Zverev who shapes as a potential round of 16 opponent.
Novak Djokovic was also a second round winner, beating Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 7-5.
Other first round winners on Tuesday included Daniil Medvedev, Richard Gasquet, Kyle Edmund and Hyeon Cheung.