Toronto: De Minaur storms into first ATP Masters final
Alex de Minaur dominated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to become the first Aussie since Pat Rafter in 2001 to reach the Canadian Masters final, and takes a step closer to the world's top 10.
Alex de Minaur has overcome blustery conditions to secure a breakthrough 6-1 6-3 victory over Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Canadian Open to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career.
There he will meet Jannik Sinner, after the Italian beat Tommy Paul in the second semifinal on Saturday night in Toronto.
De Minaur, fresh off an upset win over second seed and former world No.1 Daniil Medvedev, delivered a simple game plan in the challenging conditions on Saturday while Davidovich Fokina struggled to find any sort of rhythm throughout the 78-minute match.
“First thing I knew once I stepped out on court it wasn’t going to be pretty so I didn’t expect perfect tennis from my side of the court today,” said De Minaur, who wrote “so windy” on an on-court camera lens after the match.
“I just told myself to stay positive, keep competing no matter what and you never know what’s going to happen.
“So I thought I had a great mindset today … didn’t play the best of tennis but I did what needed to be done today in these conditions.”
De Minaur won his seventh ATP Tour title in Acapulco earlier this year and reached the final last week in Los Cabos, also in Mexico.
The world No.18 has risen to 12th in the ATP live rankings with this result, and could rise to No.11 if he wins the title.
He will need to overcome a 0-4 record in his head-to-head series against Sinner to do so, but should he win, he would become the first Australian since Lleyton Hewitt 20 years ago to win a Masters crown. Hewitt triumphed at Indian Wells in 2003.
De Minaur is the first Australian to appear in a Canadian Masters final in 22 years, after Pat Rafter lost the 2001 final to Andrei Pavel. Rafter was also the last Aussie to win the Canadian Masters, in 1998.
De Minaur wasted no time setting the tone against Davidovich Fokina as he broke the Spaniard twice en route to a 5-1 lead before serving out the opening set on his first opportunity.
The 24-year-old Sydneysider maintained the pressure as he broke Davidovich Fokina four times to build a 5-2 lead in the second before sealing the match with his seventh break.
“I’ve had a hell of a week. It’s been the breakthrough that I always knew I had inside of me so it’s great to show it and play for a final,” De Minaur said.
Until this week, De Minaur had never before reached the quarterfinals of an ATP Masters 1000 event.
He has won 10 of his 12 matches on North American hard courts since Wimbledon, and improves to 32-16 in 2023. This will be his fourth final of the season.
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) August 12, 2023
Aussies in action – Toronto
Men’s singles, semifinals
Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 6-1 6-3
Men’s singles, final
Alex de Minaur (AUS) v  Jannik Sinner (ITA)
At the concurrent WTA 1000 event in Montreal, Storm Hunter came extremely close to reaching another WTA 1000 final with Elise Mertens before falling in a match tiebreak.
Hunter and Mertens led the match tiebreak 8-3 before going down to Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs 6-3 3-6 [11-9].
Hunter and Mertens, the Rome champions and Wimbledon finalists, are nevertheless 22-7 in a brilliant 2023 season and sit in second place in this year’s points race to the WTA Finals.
Aussies in action – Montreal
Women’s doubles, semifinals
 Desirae Krawczyk (USA)/Demi Schuurs (NED) d  Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-3 3-6 [11-9]
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