Demon beats Millman at tennis - and golf

Alex de Minaur has beaten great pal John Millman in the battle of Australia's top two tennis men at Queen's Club - after also pipping him on the golf course!

ALEX DE MINAUR.
ALEX DE MINAUR. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Alex de Minaur reckons it's never easy to beat a fellow Australian - especially when the victim just happens to be one of his best mates, John Millman.

Still, it didn't stop the country's No.1 men's player from handing out a bit of a grass court tennis lesson to the No.2 at Queen's Club on Wednesday - just a few weeks after he'd also beaten his buddy on the golf course in Spain.

When de Minaur won their golf duel in Alicante, the loser had to pay for the dinner.

In their day job, though, de Minaur's prize was a coveted quarter-final spot in England's prestigious Wimbledon warm-up event - and he looked in the mood to go further after one of his best performances of the year.

The 22-year-old resembled a man whose feet had been extricated from treacle as his transformation from clay-court sufferer to grass court spring chicken was obvious to everyone with his 6-1 6-3 win in just 64 minutes.

Moving like lightning, hitting flat and accurate and enjoying a new sense of on-court freedom, he broke Millman three times in the opener and swiftly repelled a late spot of resistance when the 32-year-old Queenslander earned a second set break-back.

"It's never easy (beating another Australian). You know, I'm very close to Johnny, so I want him to do as well as possible and would have loved for him to be on the other side of the draw and go deep," said world No.22 de Minaur of his 43rd-ranked mate.

But just as in his straight sets win on a Rotterdam hard court earlier in the year, de Minaur demonstrated the gulf between the top two, even after Millman's remarkable birthday win on Monday when he saved two match points before taming US giant Reilly Opelka.

The Queenslander didn't look sharp after recent back problems that forced him out of Roland Garros, but de Minaur, the No.4 seed, looks in the sort of form to go deep on Queen's pristine greenery.

"It's a surface which I look forward to every year. It's a part of the season I love. So, it just feels great," he said.

"I played a very good match today, a level that I think I haven't brought in a while, so I'm very happy with that.

Asked if he fancied his chances, as he gets ready to face either Fabio Fognini or Marin Cilic in the quarters, de Minaur shrugged: "Look, if I can play my best tennis, there's always a chance."

Asked, though, about how he'd got on against his golf partner Millman in their recent tussles, de Minaur obviously didn't want to rub it in as he tried to avoid a direct answer.

"I'm about as up and down as you can imagine an amateur golfer to be. I have my pearlers, my great days, when I reckon I'm going to go sign on to PGA Champions Tour when I'm done with tennis, and I've got times where I'm like, 'Why do I even get out on the golf course?'

"John? Honestly, he's very consistent."

Yes, but who won?

"Er, I got him with a couple of holes to go. Yes, I got him. You got it out of me...." smiled de Minaur ruefully.