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De Minaur Triumphs In Antalya, Hurkacz Holds Off Korda For Delray Beach Tennis


By Ricky Dimon

It was an unusual championship Wednesday on the ATP Tour, and it failed to produce any drama. Alex de Minaur and Hubert Hurkacz certainly didn’t mind, though, as they comfortably cruised to respective season-opening titles.

De Minaur lifted an ATP winner’s trophy for the fourth time in his career, winning the Antalya Open at the expense of a hobbled Alexander Bublik. Having sustained an ankle injury during his semifinal defeat of Jeremy Chardy, Bublik retired after a mere seven minutes on Wednesday while trailing 2-0 in the opening set.

“I twisted my ankle yesterday and finished with an adrenaline rush for the best win of my life,” said the 49th-ranked Kazakh, who is now 0-3 lifetime in ATP finals. “I was so lucky to win. I tried to play; I was in the physio room for three hours yesterday and I tried to get ready for the match today. It’s hard for me in my third ATP Tour final, and I’ve never gotten the win.”

Still, it was a well-deserved triumph for de Minaur. The 23rd-ranked Aussie was the best player in Antalya all week, crushing almost every opponent and surrendering just one set to David Goffin. De Minaur is now 4-4 for his career in ATP finals.

“I knew I’d put in a great preseason; I felt good and ready to compete,” the 21-year-old explained. “I gave myself the best possible chance to go deep in this tournament. I have got matches at the start of the year. I am very happy with my level. I got some quality wins and now I’m looking forward to returning to Australia, where I hope to have a good Aussie summer in front of a home crowd.”

At the Delray Beach Open, Hurkacz defeated first-time finalist Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-3. Korda managed to reach the finish line, but he was clearly dealing with a knee injury that had been an issue ever since the second round.

“I was trying to focus on things that I should do and to stay aggressive, because Sebastian is never going to hand me the match,” Hurkacz noted. “Sometimes It’s even tougher when your opponent is not feeling 100 percent. He’s trying to focus on what he can do, and he can serve big and hit big shots from the baseline. So it was crucial for me to stay aggressive and get an advantage there.

“The way [Korda] is playing, it will be amazing what he can achieve in the future. It’s too bad that he wasn’t 100 percent fit today, but his game is there. I’m sure he’ll be holding many trophies in the future.”

Hurkacz, who is now 2-0 lifetime in ATP finals (also 2019 Winston-Salem), is off to Australia along with de Minaur and Bublik.

Korda, on the other hand, skipped Australian Open qualifying in order to play in Delray Beach and he will now head to Europe for Challengers. Aussie Open qualies also took place this week, as the ATP kicks off the 2021 campaign with an unprecedented schedule because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The next main-tour tournaments will be held in Melbourne in advance of the year’s first Grand Slam, which was pushed back from January to February.

Ricky contributes to
 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.