Alex de Minaur fought back from a set-down for his second consecutive game on Friday at the Atlanta Open to reach his second final at the ATP 250 event. The third seed dominated the last two sets in a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win against Ilya Ivashka, repeating the formula he used in his quarter-final win against Adrian Mannarino the day before.
“I just found a way to get through it,” De Minaur said. “It wasn’t an ideal start, but these things happen. You adapt, you move on and try to do your best.”
The Aussie let a 0-3 lead slip early in the game, with Ivashka rising to the opening set after a long rain delay at 5-5. De Minaur then battled off two breakpoints to open the second set, as he began to confirm himself with his steady baseline play. He again managed a few breakpoints to start the deciding set before his pressure said it.
The Minaur broke the serve on five out of seven chances and dealt his damage with a 62 percent win rate on the second service returns.
Improving to 8-1 in Atlanta, the Aussie is through to its first tour-level final of 2022 after three previous semi-final runs. He is looking for his sixth title and his first since winning Eastbourne last June.
The 2019 champion has had a lot of support in Atlanta all week, but don’t expect to become the crowd favorite in the final against American Jenson Brooksby, who raced past Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday night.
“It will be a fun game,” said De Minaur. “I feel like I may not have the audience on my side tomorrow as I play an American. But I’m looking forward to [the final].”
Brooksby took the lead in the all-American semi-final by storming to a 3-0 lead as Tiafoe struggled to find the field in the opening set. The 21-year-old pressed home the advantage by claiming his third break chance in his opening set two return game before his opponent began to settle on the stadium pitch.
Tiafoe started finding room to attack late in the game and put in his first break point when his compatriot served the game. But on his sixth match point in a five-two match, Brooksby defeated Tiafoe in a marathon rally to advance to his third UKTN final and second of 2022 (Dallas).
“I thought I was staring very strongly today. I came out really excited,” he said after the game. “I think I lasted in the second, then he started competing, started playing better … I was a little nervous there [at the end of] the second series.”
After improving to 8-2 against fellow Americans, Brooksby will take his first tour-level title on Sunday in his first ATP Head2Head encounter with De Minaur.
“I think tomorrow will be a good physical game,” he predicted. “I’m excited. It’s the final, always very exciting for me.”