Alex de Minaur emulates Pat Rafter despite crushing loss in Canadian Open final

The World No.18 became the first Aussie since Pat Rafter to achieve the feat.

Alex de Minaur roars and Pat Rafter poses with a trophy.
Alex de Minaur (pictured left) became the first Australian since Pat Rafter (pictured right) to reach the Canadian Open final, but wasn't able to defeat Italian Jannik Sinner in the showdown. (Getty Images)

Alex de Minaur has suffered a brutal defeat in an ATP final for the second week in a row after Italian tennis sensation Jannik Sinner outplayed the tenacious Aussie in the Canadian Open final. De Minaur shocked the tennis world when he defeated Daniil Medvedev and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final.

The World No.18 became the first Australian since Pat Rafter in 2001 to make the Canadian Open final. He was also looking to emulate Rafter's efforts of lifting the trophy, which the serve-and-volley king achieved in 1998.

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However De Minaur didn't have the firepower to stretch Sinner, who managed to take the final in straight sets. De Minaur was struggling to make inroads on his own racquet, having managed only six per cent of free points on his first serve against Sinner in the first set.

While De Minaur is known for his tenacious baseline defence, he couldn't match Sinner's firepower on the baseline. Sinner won an overwhelming 64 per cent of the points during the match to run away with the final 6-4 6-1 in a near flawless display to lift his first Canadian Open trophy.

Sinner's win marked his second title of 2023 and the eighth of his career. The 21-year-old's triumph also marked the biggest win of his career having achieved his first ATP Masters 1000 title.

Sinner will also rise to World No.6 after his win. The 21-year-old is the youngest Canadian ATP Masters champion since Alexander Zverev won as a 20-year-old in 2017.

Sinner is also only the second Italian to win at this level since 1990, joining the 2019 Monte Carlo champion Fabio Fognini. The loss comes as a huge blow to De Minaur, who lost in the final of the Los Cabos Open last week.

Regardless of the defeat, De Minuar will take some huge momentum into the US Open after his latest brilliant hard-court display. The Aussie's superb form will see him rise to World No.12, which is a career-high ranking.

Jannik Sinner poses with the trophy.
Jannik Sinner (pictured) defeated Alex de Minaur in the Canadian Open final. (Photo by Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Tennis world praises Alex de Minaur effort

Tennis fans were quick to laud Sinner's effort amid his maiden ATP Masters title, but also spared a thought for De Minaur with the Aussie having enjoyed two strong weeks on tour.

The World No.18 is set to rise to 12th in the world rankings next week, and could be set to enter the top 10 very soon. "Looking at the results, I'm pretty happy with where my level is at and how I'm continuously chipping away towards my goals," the 24-year-old said.

"Step by step, I feel like I'm getting better. I'm showing my level against top opponents, day in and day out.

"This week was a great week for me. I'm feeling confident. I'm going to be ranked 12 and I've still got plenty and plenty of areas to improve on. I think it's going to be the case my whole career but that's the beauty of it, so it's exciting for me."

The career-high mark of No.12 will be one spot higher than Nick Kyrgios' best of 13th in the world. De Minaur has been in red-hot form during the hard-court swing and made the final at the Los Cabos Open last week. He lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, but his form leading into the US Open will be a massive boost for an Aussie contingent missing the injured Kyrgios.

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