In this work we develop a methodology to probe the strength and toughness of microscopic brittle phases by combining focused ion beam (FIB) milling methods with microtesting techniques and finite element simulation. We present results from tests conducted on alumina fibres and compare data thus obtained with known macroscopic fibre properties derived from tensile tests conducted on long sections of the fibres. The developed methodology is to be transposed towards the microscopic mechanical testing of irregularly shaped second phases in MMCs and alloys.