Third-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur withstood 28 aces in a three-set victory over Reilly Opelka on Saturday to book a title clash with Taylor Fritz in the ATP tennis tournament in Atlanta, Georgia.
De Minaur’s 7-6 (7/4) 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 victory made the 20-year-old the youngest player ever to reach the Atlanta final.
He’ll be facing another of the ATP Tour’s young guns in Fritz, the 21-year-old second seed who beat Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-1 3-6 6-3.
De Minaur will be chasing a second career title to go with the trophy he captured in Sydney in January – before his season was slowed by a groin injury that sidelined him for almost two months.
“I’m back where I want to be,” de Minaur said.
“I felt like I’ve been playing some great tennis, but not getting the wins that I wanted. I knew that sooner or later, I’d have a good result again.”
De Minaur said it was just a matter of staying patient and maintaining his poise as his good friend Opelka rained down the aces.
“I’ve got to know he’s going to hit about 200 aces on me and there’s not much I can do,” he said.
“I have to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Opelka fended off two break points in each of the first two sets before de Minaur gained the first break of the match for a 3-2 lead in the third, breaking him a final time to seal the win.
On Sunday, Fritz will be trying to turn the tables on de Minaur, who beat him in the Next Gen ATP Finals.
Fritz, who captured his first career title at Eastbourne last month, fired 15 aces on the way to a victory over his doubles partner Norrie.
“I was really happy with my ability to kind of turn it around after the second set,” he said.
“I played a really good first set. He definitely upped the level in the second, made some good adjustments and I tried to just make a couple more adjustments in the third.