Watch: De Minaur Continues Sydney Fairytale
Youngest ATP World Tour finalist since Fritz at 2016 Memphis
Alex de Minaur’s star continued to shine bright on Friday as the Australian teenager booked his spot in the Sydney International final.
The local boy competed with great maturity, regrouping after losing the first set, to beat Benoit Paire of France 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 50 minutes for a place in his first ATP World Tour 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,” said de Minaur. “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.”
De Minaur has now won 11 of his past 12 matches – including four best-of-five-set victories in the Australian Open wild card play-off, a semi-final run at last week’s Brisbane International presented by Suncorp and in Sydney.
Standing in his way of replicating Lleyton Hewitt’s achievement of winning the 2000 Sydney title as an 18-year-old will be Russian Daniil Medvedev, who earlier in the day recovered from a set and 1-3 deficit to beat fourth seed Fabio Fognini of Italy.
Looking ahead to meeting Medvedev in the final, de Minaur said, "He's a young guy, as well. He played at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. [He's] a very dangerous player, [with a] very big game. It's going to be another battle. It's going to be fun. I'm sure we are both going to come out swinging, so it should be a fun match."
Both Medvedev and de Minaur, when sponsored by Tecnifibre, took part in a training camp a few years ago.
"I remember that camp," said de Minaur. "I was able to get to hit with a lot of these guys and I cherish the moment and the chance of training against these bigger guys. I'm definitely going to take that into account and, I'm sure, tomorrow we will talk about a game plan. I'll just try to come out there and execute it like it's just another match."
De Minaur is the youngest ATP World Tour finalist since American Taylor Fritz at 2016 Memphis at at No. 167 in the ATP Rankings is the lowest-ranked Sydney finalist since then-No. 223 Andrei Cherkasov reached the 1989 title match.
Last week in Brisbane, de Minaur recorded the biggest victory of his career when he beat Milos Raonic en route to the Brisbane semi-finals (l. to Harrison).
Twenty years ago this week, former World No. 1 Hewitt - who watched de Minaur's victory on Ken Rosewall Arena - captured his first ATP World Tour title at 1998 Adelaide. Read & Watch Exclusive Feature