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Alex de Minaur the youngest player to make Sydney International final since Lleyton Hewitt

12 January 2018 11:55 AM
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He is now the youngest finalist on tour since Taylor Fritz in 2016 and aiming to become the youngest champion since Kei Nishikori lifted the Delray Beach title in 2008.

De Minaur is clearly no flash in the pan or flavour of the month. His appearance in Friday's final four made him the youngest player to appear in back-to-back tour semi-finals since an 18-year-old Rafael Nadal achieved the feat in 2005. That's incredibly esteemed company.

A first-round showdown with giant Tomas Berdych awaits de Minaur in Melbourne at next week's Australian Open.

But before then he has a title to win, and if de Minaur brings the fight he displayed in the final two sets against Paire on Friday, he will be savouring the biggest triumph yet of his fledgling career on Saturday night.

Paire had his chances against the irrepressible Aussie, but could only convert one of eight break points.

He cut an imposing figure throughout opposite de Minaur, wearing a carefully manicured beard and tight-fit apparel showing off his chiselled frame, but the 18-year-old was undaunted.

Much like he hasn't been bothered against the likes of Milos Raonic, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez in this past fortnight.

The Hewitt comparisons have been made several times during that stretch, and not without warrant. He chases almost everything down on court, his return of serve is sublime and his lob is a weapon, straight out of the playbook of Australia's former world No 1.

Medvedev certainly isn't to be taken lightly on Saturday after he staged a remarkable turnaround in his semi-final against Italian fourth seed Fabio Fognini to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.


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