BEFORE each game, Alex de Minaur psyches himself up by listening to Post Malone’s Rockstar.
If the teen sensation claims his maiden ATP title in the Sydney International on Saturday, he will stroll into the Australian Open feeling like a rockstar, with support to match.
De Minaur set up a decider against world No.84 Daniil Medvedev at Ken Rosewall Arena by coming from a set down to win his semi-final against Benoit Paire 4-6 6-1 6-1.
The 18-year-old displayed encouraging poise to completely dominate from the second set.
It took just one break for world No.42 Paire to claim the first set.
But de Minaur stormed back in the second, blitzing Paire all over the court to take it in just 24 minutes.
He then broke Paire’s serve in the first game of the third set, and after six deuces managed to hold his own serve to take a 2-0 lead, a vital game in the match.
He was ruthless thereafter, despite Paire’s best attempts to break his serve on several deuce points.
De Minaur has defeated Fernando Verdasco, Damir Dzumhur, Feliciano Lopez and Paire this week to belie his No.167 world ranking.
While he lives in Spain, Sydney-born de Minaur will have the entire crowd behind him as he attempts to win his first tour title at Sydney Olympic Park.
Medvedev, the 21-year-old Russian, upset Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-4 6-1 in his semi-final, and recalled playing de Minaur during a sponsor’s camp years ago.
“I don’t know so much about him, but I saw him play in some tournaments and I knew already before that he’s gonna be a great player, because I remember he was playing with Technifibre before and we had a camp where I played like some tiebreaks with him,” Medvedev said.
“He was, like, 15. I said, ‘Wow, this guy plays so good’. Because he beat me – it was only me serving and he beat me.
“I was, like, ‘Wow, this guy is amazing. He is going to be good’.
“And he’s becoming good now. I wish him all the best. It’s nice to see some young guys coming up.”
Medvedev also showed incredible resolve in his match, rallying from 6-2 3-1 down.
“Until 6-2, 3-1, Fabio was playing unbelievable, and me, I felt that I didn’t show my best tennis,” Medvedev said.
“So then suddenly it started to turn around step by step, and then finally, I almost didn’t lose a game.
“At some moment it started to work. I could feel him a little bit down because he was leading, and we know Fabio, he can get crazy if he’s leading and he starts to lose. So I was waiting for this and I got it.”
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