De Minaur marches on
Originally published on 12/01/18 00:00
The 18-year-old recovered from an early deficit to defeat Benoit Paire 4-6 6-1 6-1 at the Sydney International – his hometown tournament – and become the youngest ATP finalist since Taylor Fritz reached the championship match in Memphis two years ago.
De Minaur, who appears at ease in the media glare, will attempt to become the youngest ATP champion in a decade when he tackles Daniil Medvedev in Saturday’s final.
“I was a set down with not a lot of belief in me, and this crowd just picked me up, picked my intensity up and got me over the line,” beamed De Minaur, post-match.
“I just tried to be tough. I tried to find a way to just keep making balls and just trying to be that blue wall. Once I got on court I tried to make the most out of this occasion and I’m glad I came out with the win.”
Regardless of the outcome in the championship match, De Minaur will jump to a career-high ranking of No.127 on Monday. It’s been a rapid rise for the young Australian, who commenced 2018 as the world No.208.
De Minaur’s next opponent, Medvedev, also took the scenic route in his last four battle with Fabio Fognini. The Russian was a 2-6 6-4 6-1 victor over the Italian and is now just one win away from a maiden ATP title.
At the Auckland Classic, Juan Martin del Potro’s promising start to the new campaign continues after a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 win over David Ferrer.
The Argentine lifted the title in New Zealand nine years ago and Roberto Bautista Agut, also a former champion, will attempt to prevent him from doing it again in Saturday’s final.
The Spaniard edged a near three-hour scrap with Robin Haase 6-7(7) 7-6(3) 7-6(5).