It was likely a preview of finals for years to come.
Touted 21-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev held off 18-year-old 2018 breakout player Alex de Minaur 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday in the final of the Sydney International.
It was the youngest ATP final in 21 years, since Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells. And it was the first career title for Medvedev.
“I mean, to make it through the qualies, there were so many circumstances,” Medvedev said afterwards. “I wanted to go to Auckland, because my girlfriend had a visa to New Zealand, and not even one guy withdrew from Auckland…now I won here. So just amazing.”
Medvedev, who entered the event at No. 84 on the ATP rankings, saw his 4-0 lead in the third set erased by the Aussie teen. Then serving for the match at 5-4, he was easily broken by de Minaur, who had the home crowd roaring. Serving at 5-5 the Aussie dug himself out of a 0-40 hole but was eventually broken, and Medvedev took advantage the second time to serve out the match 7-5.
“I wanted to just compete until the last point, and I thought that’s what I did,” said the No. 167-ranked de Minaur. “I left it all out there on court.”
Medvedev said he didn’t mind the Aussie crowd.
“If the crowd goes really crazy, sometimes it can turn you on, also,” the Russian said. “Even if it’s against you, you don’t feel it that it’s against them. Just hear them, so it can turn you on, also. I’m sure he wouldn’t make the comeback in the third set without the crowd. It was tough, but I’m really happy to manage this.”
Medvedev lost first round at a Challenger to start his season last week. He is now 1-1 in career ATP finals after losing the Chennai championship last year.
De Minaur continued his burst onto the tour scene after last week reaching the Brisbane semifinals as a No. 208-ranked wildcard, eventually falling to unseeded American Ryan Harrison.
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