Acapulco, Mexico, 2 March 2024 | Vivienne Christie

Acapulco, Mexico

Alex de Minaur will contest the final of the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco for a second straight year, following a semifinal win over Jack Draper.

The world No.9 Australian advanced with a 6-3 2-6 4-0 victory when the Brit retired with illness after one hour and 45 minutes on court.

“I wish him a speedy recovery. He’s a hell of a player, hell of a talent and I hope it’s nothing too serious and that he’s ready to go for Indian Wells and Miami,” said De Minaur, admitting it was “tough to focus” as Draper appeared to be physically suffering during the second set.

“I just told myself to bring up the intensity and try and get a head start in the third set and make it a little bit harder for him,”  added De Minaur, who secured his ninth straight match win at the hard-court tournament.

De Minaur claimed the biggest of his seven ATP singles titles in Acapulco last year, following a semifinal win over Holger Rune and victory against Tommy Paul in the final.

His progress to the 2024 final includes a first win in 11 matches against Stefanos Tsitsipas  with De Minaur recovering from a 1-6 deficit in a memorable quarterfinal.

De Minaur broke in the fifth game of the match against Draper, with another break of serve securing the 40-minute first set.

While Draper struck first with an early service break in the second set, the Brit was treated for illness after the fifth game. He closed out the set but was clearly struggling when De Minaur took control of the final set.

It secured a second appearance in at ATP final this year for the Australian, following De Minaur’s runner-up finish to Jannik Sinner in Rotterdam.

The world No.9, who has wins over Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Grigor Dimitrov this season, also added to a stellar semifinal record; since the start of 2023, he’s won all six semifinals he’s contested.

De Minaur  – the first player to secure back-to-back finals appearances in Acapulco since David Ferrer in 2012 and 2013 – will face Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The  sixth-seeded Norwegian was a 3-6 6-3 6-4 winner over Rune in the other semifinal.

Needing to defend his 2023 title to maintain his top-10 ranking, De Minaur admits “there are plenty of things” he can improve in his tennis.

“But as I said from the start of the week, it’s all about giving yourself a chance to play better the next day and I thought today, my first set was probably some of the best tennis I’ve played all week,” he said.

“I’m slowly getting there. It’s the last day of the tournament and I’m ready to give it my all.”

Aussies in action – Acapulco

Men’s singles, semifinals
[3] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Jack Draper (GBR) 6-3 2-6 4-0 ret

Men’s doubles, semifinals
[2] Hugo Nys (MON)/Jan Zielinski (POL) d John Peers (AUS)/Harri Heliovaara (FIN) 6-4 6-3

Men’s singles, final
[3] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v [6] Casper Ruud (NOR)

San Diego, USA

Storm Hunter and Ellen Perez will meet in a WTA tournament for a second consecutive week, with the Australians to face off in the San Diego doubles semifinal.

Perez combined with American partner Nicole Melichar Martinez to defeat Lidziya Marozava and Kimberly Zimmermann in the quarterfinals.

Alongside Czech partner Katerina Siniakova, Hunter was a winner over Japanese pair Eri Hozumi  and Makoto Ninomiya.

The semifinal will be a rematch of last weekend’s doubles final in Dubai, where Hunter and Siniakova claimed a 6-4 6-2 win over Perez and Melichar-Martinez.

Daria Saville was stopped in the singles quarterfinals of the WTA 250 tournament, falling to third-seeded American Emma Navarro in straight sets.

As a qualifier, Saville won four straight matches in San Diego – including in the second round, where she saved a match point against Germany’s Tatjana Maria.

The world No.148 Australian was unable to capitalise on an early lead against Navarro, with the American recovering from a 1-4 deficit to take the first set in 47 minutes.

The pair exchange consecutive breaks of serve in the second set, with Navarro edging ahead in the latter stages to seal a 6-4 6-2 victory.

Aussies in action – San Diego

Women’s singles, quarterfinals
 [3] Emma Navarro (USA) d [Q] Daria Saville (AUS) 6-4 6-2

Women’s doubles, quarterfinals
[2] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Katerina Siniakova (CZE) d Eri Hozumi (JPN)/Makoto Ninomiya (JPN) 6-4 6-2
[3] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) d Lidziya Marozava/Kimberly Zimmermann (BEL) 6-2 6-1

Women’s doubles, semifinals
[2] Storm Hunter (AUS)
/Katerina Siniakova (CZE) [3] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA)