De Minaur v Bolt in Australian Open Play-off final
It will be a battle between the top seeds in the AO Play-off final after Alex De Minaur and Alex Bolt scored semifinal vctories at Melbourne Park on Friday.
Alex de Minaur will compete for a wildcard into the main draw of the Australian Open after winning his semifinal at Melbourne Park on Friday.
No.2 seed De Minaur defeated No.5 seed and 2016 December Showdown winner Omar Jasika 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-0.
Later on Friday, Alex Bolt saw off Marc Polmans in straight sets to set up a final on Sunday between the Play-off’s top two seeds.
De Minaur, 18, survived the early scare against 20-year-old Jasika but managed to fight back and eventually cruise to victory with a more offensive mindset.
“I thought I started to be more aggressive. I was letting him push me around the court a bit and I wasn’t doing enough to get back in the points,” De Minaur said.
“I started to stand my ground on the baseline and dictate play a bit more off my backhand.”
The New South Wales native, who has dropped just one set in his first three matches, said a place in the main draw of the Australian Open would mean the world to him.
“There would be no better feeling. At the end of the day, if you win [the December Showdown], you deserve a wildcard – that would be the ultimate goal and I’m looking forward to my next match.”
As the second semifinal between Bolt and Polmans unfolded on Court 8, De Minaur said he had no preference in opponent.
“They’re both great players. They are both going to be a tough matchup,” he said.
Bolt will present quite the challenge; the top seed closed out the match with an ace out wide, subduing Polmans 7-6(3) 6-4 7-6(4).
The South Australian had served for the match at 6-5 in the third, only to be broken as the finish line approached.
Yet he regrouped in the tiebreak, building a 6-2 lead and completing victory three points later.
Bolt, the world No.190, improved his ranking almost 450 places after an impressive 2017 season, highlighted by two ATP Challenger finals.
In the first round of this year’s Play-off, he was stretched to five sets by Benard Nkomba before improving with each round.