ATP Acapulco: Alex 'big heart in the small body' de Minaur wins first ATP 500 title
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3106
After six ATP 250 titles by his name, Alex De Minaur lifted his first ATP 500 title in Acapulco. Alex took down Tommy Paul 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and 27 minutes for a career-best title. The Aussie recovered his game in the second set and survived an ultimate challenge at the start of the decider to gain a boost and emerge at the top.
De Minaur dominated with his first serve and denied six out of eight break points. He grabbed four breaks in sets two and three to turn the tables and emerge at the top, earning enough points to secure a top-20 return. The Aussie made a difference in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, hitting 18 service winners on one of the slowest courts in the calendar.
They both made over 40 unforced errors, and Alex tamed his strokes more efficiently in sets two and three to emerge at the top. Paul saved points at 1-1 in the opener and grabbed a break in the next one after the rival's backhand error.
The American produced three comfortable holds and wrapped up the opener with a service winner in game nine for 6-3 after 38 minutes. De Minaur saved a break point at 1-1 in the second set, and they stayed neck and neck following back-to-back breaks in games six and seven.
Alex pushed strong on the return in the second set and grabbed a break following the rival's backhand error to wrap up the set 6-4 and gain a boost.
Alex de Minaur conquered the ATP 500 title in Acapulco.
The pivotal moment came in the final set's opening game, with de Minaur facing five break points.
He denied them and produced a vital hold that kept the momentum on his side. The Aussie grabbed a couple of breaks in games two and four and held at 30 at 4-0 to move closer to a bagel. Tommy served to stay in the match at 0-5 and saved a match point to avoid a complete disaster.
De Minaur served for the title at 5-1 and wrapped up the duel in style to secure a career-best title and return into the top-20. "It feels great. I have been working hard, and the results are here. You do not always win the tournament and finish a week unbeaten, so I will cherish this going into Indian Wells and Miami.
I had to dig deep to stay in the match in the second set, scrapping my way through it. The deciding set's first game was crucial and gave me momentum. I know I can not play unbelievable tennis every day, but I'm there to fight every time.
I have a lot of heart in this little body and enjoy competing, so I'm delighted with it," Alex de Minaur said.