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Medvedev wins 1st career title at Sydney International

14 January, 2018, 11:25 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Alex De Minaur celebrates beating Feliciano Lopez to reach the last four in Sydney

De Minaur admitted his confidence had soared after clinching a spot in the main draw of next week's Australian Open during last month's wildcard playoffs.

It was as if De Minaur had spent his formative years watching Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios receive extreme criticism for lacking that very trait, and was hell bent on showing Australia, at the first possible opportunity, he was something different.

The Australian summer of tennis has been one to remember for De Minaur, who now finds himself just one win away from claiming his first ATP tour title at the tender age of 18.

Down 4-1, the young Aussie appeared well out of the contest, but two double-faults handed de Minaur a break point and Medvedev surrendered serve when he sprayed a forehand long.

He's got fans swooning and has captured the hearts of past and present players worldwide and even Andy Murray is on the bandwagon.

Not many do, as high-profile victims Milos Raonic, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez can attest.

Medvedev, the 21-year-old Russian, upset Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-4 6-1 in his semi-final, and recalled playing de Minaur during a sponsor's camp years ago.

Medvedev struggled in the opening set with the crowd firmly behind De Minaur, yet he put an uncertain start behind him to win a thrilling battle at Ken Rosewall Arena, where Angelique Kerber earlier defeated another Australian, Ash Barty, in the women's final.

Veteran Ferrer marches to Auckland semis
He then blitzed the second set, unleashing his trademark ground-stroke game with relentlessly accurate shots. Del Potro clearly overpowered the 18-year-old firing eight aces.


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In the last four he will face France's Benoit Paire, who knocked out defending champion Gilles Muller by the same scoreline. "I want to congratulate Alex on an incredible run - he's the future of tennis", Medvedev said to warm applause.

"He was, like, 15".

"Every single time I step on court, I'm learning something new". Because he beat me - it was only me serving and he beat me. "He is going to be good".

De Minaur's frustration will be more acute.

"And he's becoming good now". "To be honest, I felt like I probably played some of the better tennis that I have this week. It's nice to see some young guys coming up".

"So then suddenly it started to turn around step by step, and then finally, I nearly didn't lose a game".

Despite admitting afterwards his tank was close to empty, de Minaur's grit and insatiable tenacity only fuelled comparisons to a young Lleyton Hewitt in front of a zealous crowd. "So I was waiting for this and I got it".

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