Daniil Medvedev has completed a stunning week in the Harbour City to become the 2018 Sydney International champion.
The Russian, who began the week in qualifying, outlasted Australian teen sensation Alex De Minaur in a thrilling final.
The 1-6 6-4 7-5 win was his seventh in a row in Sydney.
“I mean, it’s amazing. I’m the kind of person, the more emotions I feel, the less I show them, actually, especially if they are good ones. After the match, I didn’t fall down or anything, but I’m really happy,” Medvedev said.
“To make it through the quallies, there were so many circumstances. I wanted to go to Auckland, because my girlfriend had a visa to New Zealand, and not even one guy withdrew from Auckland. Then finally four guys withdrew on-site, but of course I couldn’t go there already and now I win here. So just amazing (smiling).”
De Minaur survived a break point early in the first set, and from there he visibly grew in confidence, willed on by an atmospheric crowd.
Medvedev struggled in every department; he banged his racquet on his hands in frustration after lacking feel on his shots, threw in a panicky drop-shot which missed the mark and shot disheartened looks toward his coach.
The longer the rallies, the more dangerous De Minaur became, and he scooped the opening set after winning six games on the trot.
But as those searching rallies persisted, Medvedev found his way into them. He broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and soon the match was level at a set apiece.
It was the Russian now producing the inspired play, and the winners flowed from his racquet. The running backhand crosscourt passing shot he played for a 3-0 lead in the third prompted a reaction akin to winning the title.
Down 4-1, the young Aussie appeared well out of the contest. Until Medvedev blinked.
Called for a foot-fault at 30-15, he ultimately double-faulted for 30-30, double-faulted again to hand De Minaur a break point, and surrendered serve when he sprayed a forehand long.
Re-ignited, De Minaur set about cutting down Medvedev’s lead as the din inside Ken Rosewall Arena grew.
Medevdev scored a settling hold for a 5-3 lead and held a match point in the ninth game, but when serving for the title at 5-4, De Minaur scored a resounding service break to send the crowd into a frenzy.
But with the match now beyond the two-hour mark, the 18-year-old began to show some signs of fatigue.
“(The tank) was close to being empty (smiling). I mean, it’s been a couple long weeks. A little bit of fatigue there, but that’s when you have to dig in deep mentally,” De Minaur said.
“I just tried to find any sort of energy I had left and left it all out there on court. There were some brutal rallies at the end, and he was just too good. There’s nothing more I can say about it.”
He leaked errors to hand Medvedev another chance to serve for the title at 6-5, and – thanks to some huge serving – the Russian would not be denied.
“It was tough,” Medvedev said. “I mean, that’s how tennis is. Sometimes there are matches like this. Not so much, but this final was like this.
“Of course I was a little bit shaky because of this (losing my third0set lead), a little bit disappointed, but the same time, I just wanted to try to get the trophy, so amazing to get it.”