Australian teen sensation Alex de Minaur has emerged from a gruelling day on court to win his first ATP title, beating Andreas Seppi 7-5 7-6 (7-5) in the Sydney International final.
Forced to win through his semi-final on Saturday afternoon against Gilles Simon after rain washed out play on Friday night, de Minaur returned to the court six hours later for a gutsy straight-sets win over Seppi.
Broken in the first game of the opening set, it proved to be one of the few blights on the 19-year-old’s game as he broke back five games and barely gave Seppi another look in.
In doing so, he became the youngest winner of the Sydney International since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001, and the first home talent to claim the prize since Bernard Tomic in 2013.
It was also fitting he joined Hewitt as a 19-year-old winner, given there was so much about the Australian Davis Cup team captain – who again sat in his players’ box with son Cruz – in the victory.
The world No.29’s court coverage was immense as always, regularly chasing down his Italian opponent’s forehands and wearing the veteran down over the 2hr 5min clash.
He also showed no sign of nerves, getting 73 per cent of his first serves in and bouncing back immediately after being broken midway through the second set and then three times when the world No.37 had mini breaks in the tiebreaker.
It came after de Minaur’s earlier 1hr 34min 6-3 6-2 victory over Simon, where he never really looked challenged but had to endure temperatures of more than 30 degrees.
It also took his daily court time to more than three-and-a-half hours, two days out from his first-round Australian Open clash with Portugal’s Pedro Sousa.
Meanwhile it was a disappointing end to the week for Seppi, who was playing in his first tour final in three-and-a-half years.