After falling short in 2018 Alex de Minaur again worked his way into a Sydney International final where he found himself up against the world no. 37 Andreas Seppi.
Seppi was ahead early in the first set holding a 3-1 lead before de Minaur worked his way back to level terms.
Late in the set de Minauar earned three set points at 5-6 with Seppi serving. He just missed wide on his first, then Seppi played a steady point to save the second set point.
Seppi was then given a code violation for not serving before the allotted time. A long rally followed that eventually saw Seppi net a forehand that gave de Minaur the first set after 65 minutes.
Seppi served at 44% in the first set compared to 74% from the Australian. Seppi won one break point early in the set, while de Minaur won two from eight attempts to win the set 7-5.
de Minaur held a break point at 0-1 on the Seppi serve. The Italian let out a loud yell as he saved it. Seppi followed that up with a double fault give the Australian another shot at break point but he over hit a big forehand.
The next point was a long rally that Seppi had de Minaur on the run, it ended when Seppi hit a drop shot into the net, That gave de Minaur his third break point of the game. This time Seppi again had de Minaur running side to side but this time he hit a thumping winner to get to deuce.
Seppi finally closed out the game for 1-1 when de Minaur netted a forehand.
The Australian who lost the final in 2018 easily held for 2-1. Seppi swiftly levelled things up serving to love.
de Minaur was at 40-0 before two errors let Seppi back to 40-30 before the Italian veteran hit long to make the score 3-2.
Seppi’s record is not that good when he falls a set behind, so with de Minaur taking the first set it was looking good for the Australian to win his first ATP title on his home court.
With de Minaur serving at 15-30 Seppi was again in control as he made de Minaur run hard for the ball, Seppi decided to play a drop shot that the Australian chased down to hit a good shot down the line, Seppi could not control the ball and sent it wide.
The next point was in reverse, de Minaur tried a drop shot that Seppi chased down and hit a good enough shot to force an error from his opponent. A double fault followed and Seppi had a break for a 4-3 lead.
Back to back errors saw Seppi at 15-30 but a big serve got him back on track for 30-30 before another Seppi unforced error game de Minaur a break point. It was converted as Seppi dragged a backhand into the net.
de Minaur was now back with a chance to win the second set and the title as he served at 4-4.
The Australian was able to hold serve for 5-4. Seppi held for 5-5.
With de Minaur ahead at 6-5 he edged two points from the title at 30-30, but Seppi held.
The match then went to a tie-breaker that ebbed and flowed before de Minaur was able to step up and serve for the title.
“Oh, it’s surreal. I couldn’t think of a better place to get my first win. You know, it’s been tough, because I have played a couple of finals and things haven’t gone my way. And to finally be able to take that step further and get my first win, it’s something that’s really special in front of friends and family and in the courts I grew up. You know, that’s definitely memories that are going to last forever.” de Minaur said after the match.
de Minaur jumps to no. 29 on the live rankings ahead of his Australian Open campaign that commences on Monday afternoon. He faces Portugal’s world no. 103 Pedro Sousa in a match not to start before 3:00 pm. de Minaur had earlier in the day had a dig at tournament organisers for not allowing him more time before hitting the court in Melbourne.