De Minaur falls agonisingly short of maiden title

Aussie teenager Alex De Minaur has staged an incredible comeback before coming up short in the Sydney International final.

The 18-year-old's bid to become the youngest Sydney International winner since Lleyton Hewitt in 2000 was dashed on Saturday night, losing to Russia's Daniil Medvedev 6-1, 4-6, 5-7.

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De Minaur looked well on his way to his maiden ATP title when he breezed through the first set 6-1, before Medvedev stormed back and the Aussie appeared to feel the effects of a gruelling two weeks.

It looked as though Medvedev would cruise to victory when he took a 4-0 lead in the third set, but De Minaur showed every ounce of his character to mount an unlikely fightback and get it back to 5-5.

What a brilliant run. Image: Getty

However he failed to hold serve in the very next game, before Medvedev held his nerve to serve it out.

In making the Sydney final and the semis in Brisbane last week, De Minaur won 11 out of 12 matches and upset six top-50 players, including former World No.3 Milos Raonic.

Saturday's showdown was another demonstration of shot selection and composure well beyond de Minaur's years, while his opponent, the 21-year-old Medvedev, produced some breathtaking winners at crucial points to cement himself as a rising star.

As it stands, world No.167 de Minaur is the lowest-ranked Sydney finalist since No.223 Andrei Cherkasov in 1989.

That ranking is soon set to rise to No.127 as he embarks on an Australian Open campaign starting against Tomas Berdych.

By the match's half-hour mark, de Minaur had already broken Medvedev three times and converted his third set point, much to the delight of the packed crowd at Ken Rosewall Arena.

But Medvedev lifted in the second set, cleaning up his unforced errors and pushing de Minaur to 3-3 before breaking the Australian's serve amid several tense, long rallies, including one totalling 31 shots.

Down 5-3, de Minaur saved a set point and held serve but his opponent held his nerve to level the ledger.

De Minaur then endured a flat patch, going down 4-0 in the third set, only to defy expectations and fight back to 4-5 after a tension-riddled service game during which he saved a match point.

The comeback was on and he refused to surrender, breaking to level at 5-5, before Medvedev returned the favour and served it out to love to claim his first ATP title.

with AAP

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