Alex de Minaur targets his third ATP title of the season when he takes on Adrian Mannarino in the Zhuhai Championships final on Sunday.
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Rising star Alex de Minaur is 2-0 in ATP finals this year – can the Aussie make it three from three when he squares off against the unorthodox Adrian Mannarino in the Zhuhai final on Sunday?
After injury issues caused de Minaur’s progress to slow down in the middle of the year, the 20-year-old is well and truly back to his best tennis this week in Zhuhai. After starting with a 6-1 6-3 win over compatriot John Millman, de Minaur has conquered three excellent players, coming back from a set down to overcome former World No. 1 Andy Murray, outlasting a three-set specialist in Borna Coric by a 6-2 4-6 6-4 scoreline and saving his best form for the semi-finals against World No. 10 Roberto Bautista Agut, playing a near-perfect match as he raced past the Spaniard 6-2 6-2, winning all but one of the points behind his first serve.
“[I was] pretty much playing with my eyes closed,” said De Minaur. “I could not do anything wrong today. It was just one of those days.
“I’ve got this level, the level I brought today. Now it’s all about trying to bring this level as often as I can.
”If I can try to bring this level almost every week, then I’ll be going deep in tournaments and beating these top guys and pushing for titles. It’s all about mentally staying in the moment and not losing concentration and trying to back up every day.”
A little over a month ago, de Minaur had never beaten a top 20 player, despite a meteoric rise into the top 30. However, that’s all changed now, with the Australian scoring a big win over Kei Nishikori to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the U.S. Open, while he claimed his second top 10 scalp over Bautista Agut and also a top 15 win over Coric this week. De Minaur’s run to the final will see him climb back into the top 30, and if he secures the title, he will hit his career-high mark of No. 24.
De Minaur could already be inside the top 20 if not for the aforementioned injury problems that surfaced shortly after his great start to 2019, where he won the Sydney International title and made the third round of the Australian Open. A back issue hindered de Minaur throughout the clay and grass seasons, but he’s recovered now, and after winning his second title in Atlanta, he will be looking to stay undefeated in finals this season when he takes on Adrian Mannarino on Sunday in Zhuhai.
Adrian Mannarino (PA Images)
After edging wildcard Zhang Ze in two tight sets in the opening round, Mannarino benefitted from a retirement by top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round, with the Greek struggling to breathe in the hot and humid conditions after his short turnaround from Laver Cup in Geneva last weekend. The Frenchman hasn’t needed a second invitation to reach his second ATP final of 2019, beating Damir Dzumhur and Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the quarter-finals and semi-finals to set up Sunday’s showdown with de Minaur.
It’s been a strange old season for the 31-year-old. Mannarino dropped to his lowest ranking in three years earlier in the season (he’s currently at No. 61), but he also snapped a six-match losing streak in ATP Finals as he finally captured his first career title in s-Hertogenbosch during the grass season, defeating Jordan Thompson in the final. Could he perhaps defeat another Aussie for his second ATP crown in Zhuhai? Mannarino would be ranked even lower if not for that run – he started the season by losing his first six matches and had only one back-to-back matches once before winning the s-Hertogenbosch trophy in June. However, Mannarino has been starting to round into form again, making the R16 at both the Canada and Cincinnati Masters during the U.S. Open Series.
This will be the first career meeting between the pair, and if de Minaur can maintain his current form, he is the favourite on Sunday. Mannarino has a funky game and can be very frustrating to play against, but I think de Minaur matches up quite well in the sense he enjoys toiling away from the baseline and making the match a war of attrition. De Minaur served brilliantly against Bautista Agut, and if he brings that level to the final, I don’t see what Mannarino can do to unsettle him.
De Minaur vs Mannarino ATP Zhuhai live streaming, preview and tips – De Minaur aiming for third ATP title of 2019
Alex de Minaur targets his third ATP title of the season when he takes on Adrian Mannarino in the Zhuhai…
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