Alex de Minaur battles past Tommy Paul for seventh and biggest title of career in AcapulcoBy Mar 05, 2023
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Alex de Minaur battles past Tommy Paul for seventh and biggest title of career in Acapulco
By winning his first ATP 500 title, De Minaur will now return to the Top 20 and become the new Australian No. 1.
Published Mar 05, 2023
Australia’s Alex de Minaur has won the seventh and biggest ATP title of his career after defeating American Tommy Paul, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, in the final of the ATP 500 event in Acapulco on Saturday night.
“It feels great. It feels amazing. I know the hard work that’s being put in to be here and it’s good to see the results, always," De Minaur said.
"It’s not always that you win a tournament and get to finish a week unbeaten. I’ll definitely cherish this going into Indian Wells and Miami.”
Both finalists had pulled off three-set upsets over Top 10 players in the semifinals the night before—Paul outlasted No. 5-ranked countryman Taylor Fritz, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (2), while De Minaur took out No. 10-ranked Holger Rune, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. And in the final it was Paul who came out stronger, taking the first set in 38 minutes and, after the two traded breaks midway through the second set, eventually finding himself two games away from the biggest title of his career at 6-3, 4-4.
De Minaur went on a tear from there though, winning seven games in a row to take the second set and build a 5-0 lead in the third.
The first game of the third set was particularly pivotal—Paul had five break points in that game and De Minaur saved them all.
“It was huge,” De Minaur said of that game. “Just to stay in the match, especially in the second set with a lot of unforced errors, I just dug deep and managed to scrap my way through it. Then the first game of the third was exactly like in my semifinals against Holger, so I had that in the back of my mind and just told myself to keep pushing.
“If I could get out of that game, then the momentum was going to switch, so I’m very happy I was able to get out of that.”
Paul broke the streak, holding for 5-1, before De Minaur served it out.
His first six titles were ATP 250s—three in 2019 (Sydney, Atlanta, Zhuhai), two in 2021 (Antalya, Eastbourne) and one in 2022 (Atlanta).
This was his third ATP 500 final, finishing runner-up at Washington D.C. in 2018 (to Alexander Zverev) and Basel in 2019 (to Roger Federer).
The icing on the cake: De Minaur, a former No. 15, will now return to the Top 20 on Monday's ATP rankings, rising from No. 22 to No. 18.
“Everything in my career has been step by step,” he said. “I just want to keep pushing, keep getting the most out of myself. I know I might not play unbelievable tennis every day, but I know I’ll fight ’til the end.
“I’ve got a whole lot of heart in this little body of mine, and I enjoy competing, so I’m very happy with it.”
De Minaur will also become the new Australian No. 1 on the ATP rankings, with Nick Kyrgios—who hasn’t played yet this year due to a knee injury—dipping down from No. 19 to No. 22.