De Min­aur scores third Next Gen Fi­nals win

Shepparton News - - SPORT -

Aus­tralian ten­nis whiz-kid Alex de Min­aur will go into the fi­nal four of the Next Gen ATP Fi­nals un­de­feated af­ter beat­ing Amer­i­can Tay­lor Fritz.

Sec­ond seed de Min­aur was at his gritty best to save five set points in a tiebreak and claim the open­ing set be­fore run­ning away with a 4-3 (10-8) 4-1 4-2 vic­tory in his fi­nal group stage match in Paris.

‘‘I just had to dig deep,’’ de Min­aur, 19, said af­ter en­ter­ing the semi-fi­nals hav­ing dropped just one set.

‘‘I was down and out there and I man­aged to scrap my way (back) with a cou­ple good re­turns and a cou­ple long ral­lies.

‘‘I man­aged to get that one cheap point and was able to serve it out so that first set was cru­cial,’’ he said.

The Syd­ney-born star had al­ready booked his spot in the semi-fi­nals on Thurs­day with a four-set win against last year’s run­ner-up An­drey Rublev, af­ter ear­lier thrash­ing Ital­ian wild­card en­trant Liam Caru­ana.

De Min­aur, the 21-and-un­der tour­na­ment’s youngest en­trant, now faces sixth-seeded Spa­niard Jaume Mu­nar for a place in the fi­nal.

His clean sweep of the roundrobin stage has taken his sea­son earn­ings past $US1 mil­lion ($A1.4 mil­lion).

But the young gun could al­most dou­ble his 2018 prize money in the next two days, with a $US407 000 pay­day on the cards if he fin­ishes the tour­na­ment un­beaten.

First seed Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas re­mained on course to po­ten­tially chal­lenge de Min­aur with a 4-1 4-3 (7-2) 4-1 win against Poland’s Hu­bert Hurkacz.

The Greek world No. 15 meets Rublev in the semi-fi­nals af­ter the Rus­sian fin­ished sec­ond in his group with a three-set win against last-placed Caru­ana.

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