The 20-year-old Australian, Alex de Minaur won the inaugural Zhuhai Championships when he beat Adrian Mannarino of France, 7-6(4) 6-4 in two hours and five minutes.
It was a complete battle today – it could have gone either way Alex de Minaur
The young Aussie had an excellent run in the event held in southern China to lift his third ATP crown of the season, only the sixth player to do achieve that record after Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev.
Following his rock-solid victory over Roberto Bautista Agut in the semis, De Minaur continued his high-level performance dropping 15 points on serve and never facing a break point.
While Mannarino did his best to stay with his younger rival he fell short during the closing stages of each set. He saved 12 break points out of the 13 he faced and eventually suffered his seventh loss in eight ATP finals.
De Minaur pressed from the opening moments with some solid serving albeit allowing chances to slip away that could have given him complete control of the final. He squandered five break chances in the third game and then three more in the fifth.
Mannarino’s defensive play was paramount during the opening games as the match then rolled on to be decided by a tiebreaker where Mannarino quickly jumped into a 4-2 lead.
De Minaur kept his concentration and pulled himself back into contention to level at 4-all with two forehand winners and maintained that momentum to snatch the opening set decisively.
In the second set the Aussie was dominant, barely losing a point behind the initial serve, squandering three break chances in the sixth game before securing the desired break when Mannarino, serving to stay in the match, cracked. The Frenchman made two errors and then delivered a double fault to go 0-40 down and offer up three championship points.
The Frenchman saved the first point – and 12th break point – with an unreturnable serve only for De Minaur to produce, on the second, a cracking forehand which Mannarino couldn’t control.
“He’s been playing great all the week and today he was just too good for me,” the beaten finalist said of the champion.
The win certainly capped an excellent week in Zhuhai for the Australian who takes over from Nick Kyrgios as the nation’s No.1. He beat John Millman, former world No.1 Andy Murray, Borna Coric and world No.10 Roberto Bautista Agut en route to the final.
“It was a complete battle today – it could have gone either way,” De Minaur said during the trophy presentation.
“It’s been a hell of a week. It’s been tough, but we’ve put in the hard work (me and my team).”