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Simon vs De Minaur ATP Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can former champion, Simon deny young gun, De Minaur back-to-back Sydney finals?

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 11 Jan 2019
  • Gilles Simon vs Alex De Minaur is live from Sydney on Saturday, 12 January from 12:00pm local time/ 1:00am GMT
  • De Minaur won their only previous meeting in Tokyo last year after a three-hour battle
Alex De Minaur. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Carried over from Friday due to persistent rain, Australian young gun, Alex De Minaur and veteran Frenchman, Gilles Simon meet in the second semi-final of the Sydney International on Saturday, with the winner moving on to take on Andreas Seppi in the championship match later in the day.

The 19-year-old De Minaur is looking to reach back-to-back Sydney finals, and his third tour-level final overall, having contested titles matches in Sydney and Washington in his breakthrough 2018, when he reached No. 31 in the world to become the highest-ranked Australian.

De Minaur is forming a habit playing well during the Australian summer- last year, as a relative unknown, the teenager reached the semifinals in Brisbane and the final in Sydney to announce himself on the ATP World Tour. He struggled on the top tier of men's tennis after that, and did not win consecutive matches until Wimbledon, but he picked up the pace again towards the end of the year, advancing to his second career final in Washington, where he lost to Alexander Zverev, making the semifinals in Shenzhen, and the third round at the US Open and Shanghai Masters. He ended the year with a runner-up finish at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, and was named the Newcomer of the Year.

Starting off the new season at 31st in the world, De Minaur reached the quarter finals in Brisbane, beating Alexei Popyrin and Jordan Thompson before losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. That result was good enough to lift him into the top 30, as he checked into the new week at a career-high No. 29. He has continued his good form in Australia in Sydney, beating Dusan Lajovic, Reilly Opelka and Jordan Thompson (for the second straight week) to reach his second straight Sydney semi-final. 

Having come through his second round victory over giant American, Opelka without facing break point, winning an incredible 88% of points on his first serve and 70% on his second offerings, he wasn't as unblemished on serve in his quarter final against Thompson, who battled back from 3-5 down in the opening set to force a tie break. Thompson had a 4-1 lead in the breaker, but Di Minaur regrouped in time, winning the next six points to avoid dropping his first set of the week. Thompson broke to open the second set, but De Minaur broke right back before making the decisive move at 4-3, and going on to serve out the set in the next game.

“I’m very happy,” said De Minaur. “It's never easy coming out and playing a fellow Australian teammate and a guy that I have grown up with, someone that I have looked up to as an older brother… [But I’m] very happy with my efforts here. I knew coming in it was never going to be an easy task, and he was going to leave it all out there. I'm very proud of my efforts.”

He won't have to face an Aussie in the next round, but his task is by no means easier, as he takes on the wily Frenchman, Gilles Simon in the last four.

Gilles Simon. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Simon is contesting his second semi-final in as many tournaments in 2019, and remains on course to claim a second Sydney title after winning the tournament in 2011.

The 34-year-old made the semi-finals in Doha last week, losing to eventual titlist, Kevin Anderson, and he's produced another workmanlike week in Sydney, taking out Sam Querrey 7-6 6-7 6-4 in the opening round, and John Millman, 7-5 3-6 7-6 in the second round to take his place in the last four. Both matches went over two hours, with the quarter final against Millman lasting all of two hours and 42 minutes. Millman fought back from a break down in the final set to earn the chance to serve for the match at 6-5, but he couldn't close it out as Simon broke back before going on to dominate the tie break.

Simon was ranked 89th at the start of last season, but he got that ranking moving back up immediately, winning an impressive 13th career title at the Maharashtra Open in Pune. While he didn't produce the goods week in week out, he put up enough good weeks to keep him afloat, winning a second title of the season in Metz, reaching another final in Lyon, and making quarter finals in Antwerp and Basel. The former world No. 6 also got to the fourth round at Wimbledon and the third round at Roland Garros.

Can the former champion deny De Minaur back-to-back Sydney finals?

This pair were at it for over three hours in their only previous meeting in Tokyo last year, with De Minaur winning 6-7 7-6 6-2, and Saturday's reunion could be another grueling war of attrition. Simon has spent almost five hours on court in getting through the last two rounds, and will be grateful from the extra rest caused by the rain delay, but this still looks like being a very long match, and the longer it goes, the more it favours the much younger De Minaur.

Gilles Simon vs Alex De Minaur is live from Sydney on Saturday, 12 January from 12:00pm local time/ 1:00am GMT

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Simon vs De Minaur ATP Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can former champion, Simon deny young gun, De Minaur back-to-back Sydney finals?

French veteran, Gilles Simon goes up against young gun, Alex De Minaur in the semi-finals of the Sydney International on Saturday. Can De Minaur qualify for his second straight Sydney final? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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