De Minaur claims maiden title after two hometown wins in one day
Alex de Minaur won two matches in a day to claim his first ATP Tour title in his hometown at the Sydney International.
The 19-year-old suffered defeat to Daniil Medvedev in the final last year but ensured he got his hands on the trophy this time by overcoming Andreas Seppi 7-5 7-6 (7-5), after defeating Gilles Simon 6-3 6-2 in a semi-final held over due to rain.
De Minaur, who rose from 208th in the rankings to 31st in a breakout 2018, consequently became the youngest Sydney champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001.
Now the world number 29, De Minaur faced minimal trouble in dispatching Simon. He staved off four break points to serve out the first set and completed the win by reeling off four games in succession.
A meeting with Seppi proved far more arduous, but the Australian recovered from dropping his serve in the opening game to take the first set after over an hour on court.
Neither player was able to assert themselves in a second-set tie-break as De Minaur fought back from a mini-break down three times, the Italian succumbing to defeat with a backhand to the net on the only match point.
De Minaur will begin his Australian Open campaign against Pedro Sousa on Monday, while Seppi faces 31st seed Steve Johnson.