De Minaur claims maiden ATP title victory

Alex de Minaur has won his maiden ATP title, beating Andreas Seppi in the Sydney International.
Alex de Minaur has won his maiden ATP title, beating Andreas Seppi in the Sydney International.

Australian teen sensation Alex de Minaur has emerged from a gruelling day on court to win his first ATP title, beating Andreas Seppi 7-5 7-6 (7-5) in the Sydney International final.

Forced to win through his semi-final on Saturday afternoon against Gilles Simon after rain washed out play on Friday night, de Minaur returned to the court six hours later for a gutsy straight-sets win over the Italian veteran.

Broken in the first game of the opening set, it proved to be one of the few blights on the 19-year-old's game as he broke back five games and barely gave Seppi another look in during the Italian's first final in three-and-a-half years.

In doing so, he became the youngest winner of the Sydney International since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001, and the first home talent to claim the prize since Bernard Tomic in 2013.

It was also fitting he joined Hewitt as a 19-year-old winner, given there was so much about the Australian Davis Cup team captain - who again sat in his players' box - in the victory.

The world No.29's court coverage was immense as always, regularly chasing down his Italian opponent's forehands and wearing the 34-year-old down over the 2hr 5min clash to make amends for last year's final loss to Daniil Medvedev.

He also showed no sign of nerves, landing 73 per cent of his first serves and bouncing back immediately after being broken midway through the second set and then three times when his world No.37 opponent had mini breaks in the tiebreaker.

"It's surreal. I couldn't think of a better place to get my first win," de Minaur said.

"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."

It came after de Minaur's earlier 1hr 34min 6-3 6-2 victory over Simon, where he never really looked challenged despite temperatures of more than 30 degrees.

It also took his daily court time to more than three-and-a-half hours, two days out from his first-round Australian Open clash with Portugal's Pedro Sousa.

"I knew coming in that if I wanted to come away with a trophy, I was going to have to play two really tough matches," he said.

"I'm extremely proud of myself. I mean, this is why I have done all the hard work in the preseason.

"To come out and just be able to back it up, first match in the sun and then later on, it wasn't easy.

"(But) I felt good out there. I felt like I was moving well. Fitness-wise, I felt like I could keep going, as well."

Australian Associated Press