De Min­aur downs fresher Seppi to win first ti­tle

Gulf Times Sport - - TENNIS -

Aus­tralian teenager Alex De Min­aur won two matches in a day to claim his first ca­reer ATP ti­tle at the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional yes­ter­day.

De Min­aur, 19 and ranked 29, con­quered the fresher Ital­ian An­dreas Seppi 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) in the fi­nal af­ter over­com­ing French­man Gilles Si­mon in a rain-post­poned semi-fi­nal ear­lier in the day.

De Min­aur’s tri­umph made him the youngest win­ner of the Syd­ney tour­na­ment since his men­tor Lley­ton He­witt claimed it as a 19-year-old in 2001.

Syd­ney-born De Min­aur is the first Aus­tralian cham­pion at the 134-year tour­na­ment since Bernard Tomic in 2013.

In his sec­ond straight Syd­ney fi­nal, the fifth seed won 75 % of first-serve points to im­prove on his run­ner-up fin­ish to Rus­sian Daniil Medvedev last year.

De Min­aur has soared 208 places to 29 in the ATP Rank­ings and was named ATP New­comer of the Year af­ter earn­ing 28 tourlevel vic­to­ries through­out his 2018 cam­paign.

Af­ter con­ced­ing a break of serve in the open­ing game of the match, De Min­aur lev­elled the open­ing set at 3-3.

The first set ap­peared to be head­ing to­wards a tie-break un­til De Min­aur broke in the 12th game, at­tack­ing Seppi’s fore­hand to force er­rors and earn short balls in re­turn from his op­po­nent.

Seppi was again the first to strike in the sec­ond set.

The Ital­ian earned his first break point of the set be­fore cap­i­tal­is­ing on a De Min­aur dou­ble­fault to lead 4-3.

But the Aus­tralian young­ster broke back for 4-4 as Seppi made con­sec­u­tive ground­stroke er­rors.

In the tie-break, De Min­aur re­cov­ered from a mini-break down three times, be­fore clinch­ing the ti­tle on his first cham­pi­onship point as Seppi net­ted a back­hand.

Mean­while, Pe­tra Kvi­tova out­lasted Ash­leigh Barty in a fi­nal-set tiebreak to win the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional women’s tour­na­ment.

The Czech 2015 cham­pion and fifth seed fought back from drop­ping the open­ing set and an early break in the fi­nal set to beat the top-ranked Aussie, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) in two hours 19 min­utes.

It was a gutsy per­for­mance from the two-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion who only fin­ished her semi-fi­nal against Ali­ak­san­dra Sas­novich in the early hours yes­ter­day.

Kvi­tova had beaten Barty both the pre­vi­ous times they played, in­clud­ing in the Birm­ing­ham fi­nal in 2017, but she had to dig deep to win her eighth straight fi­nal, com­ing back from an 0-3 deficit in the fi­nal set.

“I left ev­ery­thing out there. I was cramp­ing in the end. It wasn’t the best,” Kvi­tova said.

“She’s Aussie, so she used to these con­di­tions. I played three times in the night, so for me it was to­tally dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, which from the be­gin­ning I feel very, very slow.

“So it just took me a while to get used to the rhythm and get back to the play.

KENIN CHAMP

Ho­bart: Com­posed Amer­i­can Sofia Kenin broke through to clinch her first WTA ti­tle Satur­day with a straight sets win over Slo­vak Anna Karolina Sch­miedlova at the Ho­bart In­ter­na­tional.

The un­seeded 20-year-old put in a dom­i­nant per­for­mance to win 6-3 6-0.

“I’m re­ally happy to have won. I didn’t want to over­think it and I’m happy with the way I com­posed my­self dur­ing the match,” said Kenin, ranked 56 in the world.

The 77th-ranked Sch­miedlova started strongly, earn­ing three break points on the Kenin serve in the fourth game, but couldn’t con­vert and never threat­ened from then on.

Kenin’s power and depth of ground­strokes made the dif­fer­ence and Sch­miedlova suc­cumbed in 71 min­utes.

She has made a blis­ter­ing start to the sea­son, win­ning her first WTA dou­bles ti­tle in Auck­land last week and not drop­ping a set in Ho­bart with her ex­ploits set to see her break into the world’s top 40 when the new sin­gles rank­ings are re­leased on Mon­day.

“I feel in great form and I’m re­ally proud of my­self,” she added ahead of mak­ing her way to Mel­bourne for the Aus­tralian Open, where she will play Rus­sian qual­i­fier Veronika Ku­d­er­me­tova in round one.

Aus­tralia’s Alex De Min­aur holds the win­ner’s tro­phy af­ter beat­ing An­dreas Seppi of Italy in the fi­nal of the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Qatar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.