04/03/2024

Alex De Minaur has claimed the fifth ATP title of his career. Photo: Tennis Australia

Australia's number one male has taken out the Eastbourne International in gripping fashion, producing a remarkable comeback from a set down to claim his maiden title on grass.

Australia’s number one male has taken out the Eastbourne International in gripping fashion, producing a remarkable comeback from a set down to claim his maiden title on grass.

De Minaur closed out the enigmatic Italian Lorenzo Sonego 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5), with several extended rallies dictating who would come out on top in the final set.

The Australian took the ascendency in these rallies with his unmatched workrate, forcing Sonego to play extra shots at every turn and working his way to the net through sheer will.

De Minaur’s return game is as good as anyone on tour right now, the 22-year-old creating eight breakpoint opportunities and winning 48 per cent of Sonego’s second serves. He could only make good on two of the opportunities created, and the match proved to be wonderfully even with both players winning 107 points a-piece at its conclusion.

“I had to learn from my previous matches that if I play the big points and just try to make balls, it’s not enough, I have to go to win the match and that’s what I did today,” De Minaur said on court after the match.

The win is his fifth ATP title, and the perfect lead-in to Wimbledon which begins on Monday.

“I think more than excitement or more than just being happy, my first emotion is relief,” he admitted.

“Relief for finally getting these results, the results I’ve wanted, and obviously ecstatic that I’ve been able to pull through and play some great tennis – it just gives me exactly what I wanted to come this week.

“Play some good tennis, get ready for Wimbledon, and even though I’ve had an unbelievable week here, I kind of have to switch the mindset real quick to Wimbledon now.”

‘Demon’ enters the first round of Wimbledon in a rich vein of form. He sits at 8-2 on grass this season, having recently fallen Italian number one Matteo Berrettini last week in an entertaining clash.

It doesn’t get easier for the Sydney-sider from here. He faces American phenom Sebastian Korda in the first round, who is making his Wimbledon debut off the back of an incredible six-month period.

“He’s a hell of a player,” De Minaur said of the 20-year-old American.

“He’s been showing that he can play on every surface, especially lately on grass, he has put up some high quality wins and it’s going to be a tough match.

“Look, I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s going to be a tough match, we’re both going to go out there and do our best, have a battle, have a little bit of a war out there and we’ll see who comes out victorious.”

With victory at ATP Eastbourne, De Minaur will rise to a career-high world ranking of 15 heading into Wimbledon.

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