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Alex De Minaur vs Benoit Paire ATP Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Aussie teenager, De Minaur targets first ATP final

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 11 Jan 2018
  • Alex De Minaur vs Benoit Paire is live from Sydney from 8:00pm local time/ 9:00pm GMT
  • De Minaur beat Paire in their only previous meeting in Sydney last season
Alex de Minaur. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Australian teenager, Alex De Minaur targets his maiden ATP final when he takes on Frenchman, Benoit Paire at the Sydney International on Friday.

It was at the same venue, and against the same opponent that a 17-year-old Di Minaur picked up his first ever tour-level victory twelve months ago, edging out his more accomplished French opponent in a third set tie break- can the teenager beat the same man to reach his maiden tour final on Friday?

De Minaur couldn’t quite back up that 2017 win against Paire, as he was forced to retire from his next match against Alex Kuznetsov with an abdominal injury. He went on to achieve another first at the Australian Open, taking down Austria’s Gerald Melzer in the opening found for his maiden Grand Slam win before falling to Sam Querrey in the second round. He did not win any other ATP main draw match for the rest of the year, but he did have some decent runs in the Challenger and Futures circuit, most notably in the Segovia Challenger, where he reached the final.

Tutored by Lleyton Hewitt, De Minaur has had a whirlwind start to the new year, scoring a marquee win over Milos Raonic on his way to the semi-finals in Brisbane last week, and following it up with this trip to the last four in Sydney. A superb week began with a 6-4 6-2 victory over former top-ten star, Fernando Verdasco, before the youngster benefited from Damir Dzumhur’s retirement in the second round. De Minaur was already a set and 3-0 up. His relentless march up the ATP ladder continued with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Feliciano Lopez as the 167th-ranked Aussie became the lowest-ranked player to reach the Sydney semis since 1989. Starting the year at 209th in the world, the 18-year-old has already climbed 42 spots to his current career-high ranking, and he will break into the top 150 by virtue of this week’s results. Who says he cannot go even higher?

Trying to halt De Minaur’s charge is Benoit Paire, who will be out for revenge after falling to the youngster in last year’s tournament.

“It's going to be another match,” de Minaur about his semi-final. “I'm going to get out there and do what I have been doing. It's going to be fun. He's a very talented player, who plays at a very high level. I'm just going to go out there, try to weather the storm, and try to play my game.”

Like his young opponent, Paire is also into his second semi-final in as many tournaments this year, having made the last four in Pune last week, where he fell to Kevin Anderson. The mercurial Frenchman earned his semi-final berth by taking down 2017 champion Gilles Muller on the back of some very good serving, sending down 17 aces and giving up zero break points through the 72-minute contest. It was Paire’s most impressive performance of the week, having needed three sets to come through his opening couple of matches against Aljaz Bedene and Leonardo Mayer
Paire is seeking his fifth career final, his most recent coming in Metz last season. For all his talents, he has just the one career title, secured in Bastad back in 2015. He had a poor conversion rate from semi-finals to finals last season, losing out in Chennai, Montpellier, Marrakech and Stuttgart, and he’s started on a similar note this year, exiting at the last four stage in Pune. Can he cross that semi-final hurdle, and advance to his sixth career final?

Last year’s Sydney meeting remains the only encounter between Paire and De Minaur, and the young Aussie has clearly become a better and more confident player since then. Backed by a strong home support, against an opponent who isn’t the best at keeping his emotions in check, a first career final is very much on the cards for the home favourite. 

Alex De Minaur vs Benoit Paire is live from Sydney from 8:00pm local time/ 9:00am GMT

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Alex De Minaur vs Benoit Paire ATP Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Aussie teenager, De Minaur targets first ATP final

Alex De Minaur takes on Benoit Paire in Sydney on Friday, seeking his first tour final. Will the teenager continue his excellent start to the season? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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