Alex de Minaur is eyeing off the perfect Wimbledon preparation by winning his last tournament before the grand slam as he qualified for the final at Eastbourne.
Second seed de Minaur has yet to drop a set after beating Soonwoo Kwon, of South Korea, 6-3 7-6 (7-2) in one hour and 21 minutes in their semi-final on Saturday morning (AEST).
The win included an incredible point that has been viewed tens of thousands of times on social media. A volley brought De Minaur scrambling from his backhand corner into the net and he did well not to touch it, putting the brakes on just in time to avoid conceding the point.
The Aussie then chased back to return a deep lob, somehow keeping the ball in play. Another volley from Kwon forced De Minaur to sprint to the net again, and he eased a backhand winner down the line to have the last laugh.
De Minaur roared with delight as stunned commentators watched on in awe.
“How did he not touch the net earlier on in the point? That was extraordinary from Alex De Minaur,” one commentator said.
Another added: “I think Kwon was almost half-heartedly playing the rest of the point because he couldn’t believe it was still happening.”
De Minaur, at a career-high 18 in the world rankings, is bidding for his fifth ATP Tour title and first on grass when he faces Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in the decider.
“I am playing some great tennis on the grass. I am really enjoying myself out there and hopefully I can play well tomorrow and take it home,” De Minaur said.
“I think for me, the clay season is a long stint, so I was looking forward to the grass season. I have gained confidence from every match I have won, and I have had a lot of matches under my belt. All these things help each other.”
Third seed Sonego stayed on course for his second grass-court title with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 semi-final win against another Australian in the draw — lucky loser Max Purcell.
The big-serving world No. 27, who won the Antalya Open in Turkey on grass in 2019, hit five aces against world No. 283 Purcell, who needed back treatment at the end of the first set.
Purcell, 23, hit back to take the second set, but Sonego regained control in the decider to complete victory in one hour and 38 minutes.
“I like the conditions here because I can go to the net,” Sonego said. “I am serving well, I am more offensive, and I want to do the same tomorrow.”