Australian no.1 patiently sees off passionate Italian in tiebreak thriller
Alex De Minaur fought back from dropping the opening set to capture the Eastbourne title with a controlled 4–6 6–4 7–6(5) tense triumph over gallant Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
But he made amends in the 10th game to seal the opening set, the first set that De Minaur had dropped all week.
With two such aggressive players, both seeded at Devonshire Park and at next week’s Wimbledon Championships, slugging it out in a battle of attrition, it was De Minaur who forced his opponent into uncharacteristic unforced errors.
The Australian no.1 turned the screw just enough to edge the second set, but the pair were involved in a delightful
Serving to stay in the tournament, De Minaur held his nerve at deuce to level matters at 5–5. Sonego’s response was a rapid service game to love.
The pair exchanged service games to force the lottery of a tiebreak to decide the Eastbourne title. De Minaur took the first break to lead 3–1, but lost his way to serve for the title at 5–4 to share a point apiece. Sonego, serving to remain in the tournament, conceded defeat as the sparse Centre Court rose to their feet to applaud a classic encounter.
De Minaur said, “It’s given me exactly what I wanted to do this week — play some great tennis and get ready for Wimby. But though I’ve had an unbelievable week here, I have to switch the mindset real quick to Wimby.
“It’s a lot of relief, a lot of excitement. It’s been a long week, I’ve played some great tennis and managed to pull through with a very tough win today.
“Hopefully, I can keep it going through Wimbledon – I can’t wait.”