Alex de Minaur beats Tommy Paul in ATP Mexican Open
Alex de Minaur has rallied to win the biggest title of his career, beating Tommy Paul 3-6 6-4 6-1 in the final of the Mexican Open.
The 24-year-old Australian won his seventh career title and first at the ATP 500 level.
He won his previous six titles at ATP 250 events, most recently last year in Atlanta.
De Minaur will move to 18th in the world rankings. His career-best ranking is No. 15 in 2021.
"Like everything in my career, it's been step by step," he told the ATP website of his return to the top 20.
"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'm going to fight to 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."
After finding a way in the second set, De Minaur saved five break points in a marathon five-deuce game to open the final set and Paul never recovered.
"It feels great, it feels amazing," De Minaur said.
"I know the hard work that's put in to be here and it's good to see the results.
"It's not always that you win the tournament and you get to finish a week unbeaten, so I'll definitely cherish this going into Indian Wells and Miami.
While de Minaur dominated the final set, Paul battled until the end, saving two match points and getting on the board with a hold of serve at 0-5 before the Australian closed out the match.
"Just to kind of stay in the match, especially in the second set ... I just dug deep, managed to scrap my way through it," de Minaur said.
"And then the first game of the third set was exactly like my semi-final against Holger (Rune).
"So I had that in the back of my mind, I just told myself to keep pushing.
"If I could keep pushing myself and get out of that game, the momentum was going to switch. I'm very happy I was able to get out of that."
De Minaur is the second Australian champion in Acapulco after Nick Kyrgios' 2019 victory.