In his Ultimate Tennis Showdown debut, Alex de Minaur also called "The Demon," was absolutely relentless. The Aussie ran through Dan Evans and Pablo Andujar without dropping a single quarter on Friday to reach the final round against France's Richard Gasquet. And on Sunday, de Minaur displayed more dominating play to top Gasquet, 3-1, in the event's final.
The first two quarters of the affair were really all about de Minaur as he moved the ball effortlessly from corner to corner, and finished points off aggressively at the net. The world No. 29 was nearly invincible and was well on his way to posting another flawless scoreline.
However, Gasquet who survived an epic sudden-death thriller against Taylor Fritz in the previous round wasn't ready to hand over the win. At 16-16 in the third quarter he approached the net, reacted perfectly to de Minaur's heavy passing shot, and cut off the angle to put away a backhand volley and save a match point.
"The net play was crucial in this quarter" host Sophie Amiach said following the tight third quarter.
Don't go anywhere ????@richardgasquet1 decided it's not over just yet, and robbed the 3rd quarter from De Minaur. The Demon hadn't lost a quarter at UTS up to this point.#UTShowdown pic.twitter.com/5e6UOFxjJC— UTS | Ultimate Tennis Showdown (@UTShowdown) October 18, 2020
The world No. 54 seemed to be finding his groove and building a stronger read on de Minaur's shot selection. De Minaur on the other hand was unbothered by falling short on the match point and just continued to play his game.
The fourth and final quarter was back to business as usual for the 21-year-old. De Minaur zoomed off to a 11-3 lead, and Gasquet would exhaust all strategies and quickly run out of ideas on how to break "The Demon" down.
Using his "X3 Winner" card, de Minaur would use his wheels to reach Gasquet's well-struck drop volley and pull off an explosive forehand passing shot to go up, 15-3, and leave Gasquet in the dust.
After 40 minutes of impressive shot-making and repeatedly finding his sweet spot, de Minaur would lift up the UTS lightening bolt.
"It's been an interesting new format, I didn't mind it," de Minaur said following the victory. "It was fun and it definitely helped me out a lot to get some on-court time, and to get used to this court in the following week. But, I'm very happy to come out here and play some good tennis."
De Minaur will face Gasquet again in just a couple of days on the same courts in the European Open's first round.
For now, he is not only enjoying his UTS victory but also his NFL fantasy football game. De Minaur quickly grabbed his phone following the match to check his fantasy game's score.
"I'm not looking too bad. At the start of the day I was projected to lose by 30 points and now I'm projected to win. So, it's been a good day," de Minaur said with a big smile on his face.