De Minaur fights for Eastbourne title
Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur, second seed of Viking International at Eastbourne, won his first turf title and fifth of his career, after recovering from a set to beat the third seed and the world n ° 27 in Italy. , Lorenzo Sonego, 4-6 6-4 7-6 (5).
It’s a lot of relief, a lot of excitement. It’s been a long week, I played good tennis and managed to come out of it with a very difficult win today. I hope I can continue to Wimbledon – I can’t wait, Alex de Minaur
In what turned out to be a thrilling two-hour and 42-minute final, the 22-year-old Australian finished an impressive run in his preparation for Wimbledon – which also saw him reach the semi-finals at Queen’s last week and Stuttgart’s quarter-finals the week before – clinching his fifth career ATP round trophy. This victory will see him climb to a new career ranking of world No. 15.
A hot competition in every sense of the word was always going to come down to the finest of margins. Equally poised to a set, neither player gave an inch with zero break points offered by the pair, ultimately requiring a tie-break in the decider to separate them.
De Minaur hit the first shot in the tie-break, taking the advantage with a mini-break, but the 26-year-old Italian immediately retaliated with one of the day’s shots, a successful forehand from the angles the tightest.
At 5-5, the Australian received a time violation from referee Fergus Murphy which he ignored playing a perfect run for 6-5, increasing match point with a winning volley.
On the verge of the championship and sensing his moment on second serve, De Minaur, the title favorite, once again found his way to the net to comfortably stow an overload for his victory.
“If you want to beat Lorenzo you have to play your best tennis,” he told spectators during his on-field interview after his victory.
“It’s a lot of relief, a lot of excitement. It’s been a long week, I played good tennis and managed to come out of it with a very difficult win today.
“I hope I can continue to Wimbledon – I can’t wait,” added de Minaur, who will face young American Sebastian Korda in the first round on Monday.
“I had to show all the mental strength I had to win this game,” continued the Australian. “I had to tell myself to try to be a little more aggressive and go and win him, not just wait until he loses it – because he sure wasn’t going to.
“It gave me exactly what I wanted to do this week – play good tennis and prepare for Wimby. But even though I had an amazing week here, I have to change my mind very quickly for Wimby. .
And looking ahead to Monday, he knows he’s going to face another uphill battle in his first game with Korda, son of former world number 2 Petr Korda, the 1998 Australian Open champion.
“Korda is a hell of a player,” said De Minaur. “He has shown that he can play on all surfaces and especially lately on grass, he has had very high quality victories and it will be an incredibly difficult game.”
Sonego dedicated his finalist trophy to his grandmother who sadly passed away two weeks ago. “She was my best fan.” The Italian told the crowd in a moving speech before adding that he believed De Minaur would go a long way at Wimbledon.
“He has a good chance at Wimbledon because if the courts are faster like that it’s better for him because he’s coming back so well,” said the Italian. “He plays so well on grass, he can certainly have a really good tournament at Wimbledon.”