De Minaur turns screws in ATP Cup comeback

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  • Alex De Minaur
    Alex De Minaur
    Australian tennis player
  • James Duckworth
    James Duckworth
    Australian tennis player

Alex de Minaur has withstood a Ugo Humbert barrage, running away with an impressive comeback win to complete his ATP Cup campaign.

The Australian faced a break point at 4-4 in the second set but didn't look back in a 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 win on Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney on Thursday night.

Fellow rising star Humbert looked almost untouchable before that crucial moment, leaning on his whipping left-handed forehand to control proceedings.

But de Minaur raced through the tiebreak then prevailed in a classic 36-point rally to break Humbert's serve - and his spirit - in the deciding set.

He was at it again on match point, somehow reaching a wide backhand before sprinting forward to dig out a forehand and force the error, wagging his finger mouthing "not here" as he walked to the net to shake hands.

The victory followed de Minaur's defeat of world No.7 Matteo Berrettini, although he was humbled by Russia's world No.2 Daniil Medvedev.

"Stay in there (was key); Ugo was playing some unbelievable tennis," he said.

"He's a very high-level player, beat Medvedev on this court, but I just had to stick in there and get the crowd going.

"I got that second set and I just had that energy to keep on going."

The victory followed a frustrating loss for James Duckworth, 6-4 7-6 (8-6) to French up-and-comer Arthur Rinderknech.

Rising into the world's top 50 for the first time, Duckworth arrived confident after earning his place in Lleyton Hewitt's Australian outfit.

But he missed the country's opening clash against Italy with hip soreness, then lost both matches against Russia as the hosts failed to make the semi-final stage.

It rendered their final tie against France a dead rubber, with defending champions Russia assured the group's only spot in the semi-finals.

Happy with his form and health after COVID-19 slowed his 2021, de Minaur is set to withdraw from the Sydney Tennis Classic and head straight to Melbourne.

"It's (the ATP Cup) a special event, we played some great tennis but it didn't go our way," he said.

"I'm feeling great, playing some great tennis, feeling in best shape of my career.

"I'll see what I can do, head to Melbourne and hopefully put on a show."

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