Acapulco, Mexico, 3 March 2024 | Vivienne Christie

Acapulco, Mexico

Career-defining milestones are rapidly accumulating for Alex de Minaur in a sparkling 2024 season.

Following his top-10 breakthrough at the start of the year, the top-ranked Australian has defended a title for the first time with victory at the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco.

De Minaur, the No.3 seed at the Mexican event, defeated the sixth-seeded Casper Ruud 6-4 6-4 to claim an eighth ATP singles title overall.

In defending the biggest title of his career so far, De Minaur also ensured he’ll remain inside the world’s top 10.

“Acapulco has been a very good place for me, for my tennis career,” beamed the 25-year-old Australian after his straight-sets win.

“(It’s the) first time I’ve won a 500 (title), first time I’ve defended my title in my career. I feel at home here and it’s a great place to be.”

De Minaur was devastating from the outset of a second career meeting with Ruud – and their first since 2019 – claiming a decisive break of serve in the third game and easily consolidating.

He dropped only five points on serve to claim the 53-minute first set.

Underlining the tenacity that complements his trademark athleticism, De Minaur refused to panic when Ruud claimed his first break of serve for a 2-0 advantage in the second set.

The Australian claimed two consecutive games of his own to level and weathered the storm when Ruud lifted his level throughout the second set.

Converting a third break point, from the four break point opportunities he’d created, De Minaur took a 4-3 lead and with confidence growing, he maintained momentum to become the first man to claim back-to-back Acapulco titles since David Ferrer in 2013.

Alex de Minaur claims a second consecutive title in Acapulco.

“It’s been an amazing week. Probably a week I didn’t really expect if I’m honest,” admitted De Minaur, whose milestone week included a first win in 11 matches against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I came into Mexico not feeling my best and just kept on telling myself to keep putting myself out there, keep giving myself chances and I think today I played my best match of the tournament so (I’m) extremely happy with that.”

It adds to some impressive performances for De Minaur this season, including his first win over a world No.1 player when he stunned Novak Djokovic at the United Cup.

“2024 has been nice for me,” said the 25-year-old, who was also a finalist at the recent ATP 500 tournament in Rotterdam. “It’s only the start but hopefully we can keep it going.”

De Minaur will aim to continue his good form in a fifth main-draw campaign at Indian Wells, where he has twice reached the fourth round.

First, though, there’s another commitment for the re-crowned champion; Britain’s Katie Boulter will contest the final of the WTA tournament in San Diego tomorrow and De Minaur is catching an early flight to watch his girlfriend’s match.

“I’m looking forward to that,” he smiled.

Aussies in action – Acapulco

Men’s singles, final
[3] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d [6] Casper Ruud (NOR) 6-4 6-4

San Diego, USA

Ellen Perez has the chance to add a sixth WTA doubles title to her record at the WTA 500 tournament in San Diego.

Perez and American partner Nicole Melichar-Martinez combined to defeat Storm Hunter and Katerina Siniakova 5-7 6-4 [11-9] in the semifinals on Sunday.

It reversed the result of last week’s Dubai final, when Hunter and her Czech partner defeated Perez and Melichar-Martinez to lift the trophy.

Perez and American partner Nicole Melichar-Martinez will face American duo Desirae Krawczyk and Jessica Pegula in the San Diego final.

Aussies in action – San Diego

Women’s doubles, semifinals
[3] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) d [2] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 5-7 6-4 [11-9]

Women’s doubles, final
[3] Ellen Perez (AUS)
/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v [1] Desirae Krawczyk (USA)/Jessica Pegula (USA)

Austin, USA

Olivia Gadecki is another Australian eyeing a WTA doubles triumph, with the Queenslander set to contest the doubles final of the WTA 250 tournament in Austin alongside British partner Olivia Nicholls.

Gadecki and Nicholls advanced when Tereza Mihalikova and Yanina Wickmayer withdrew ahead of their semifinal.

They’ll face Katarzyna Kawa and Bibiane Schoofs, from Poland and the Netherlands respectively, in the championship match.

This is 21-year-old Gadecki’s first finals appearance at WTA level.

Aussies in action – Austin

Women’s doubles, semifinals
Olivia Gadecki (AUS)/Olivia Nicholls (GBR) d Tereza Mihalikova (CZE)/Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) walkover

Women’s doubles, final
Olivia Gadecki (AUS)
/Olivia Nicholls (GBR) v Katarzyna Kawa (POL)/Bibiane Schoofs (NED)

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