ECKENTAL, November 5, 2016
Alex De Minuar has become the second 17-year-old to advance to an ATP Challenger final this year, reaching the last stage of the €35,000 Bauer Watertechnology Cup in Eckental. The Australian teenager could follow the footsteps of Casper Ruup from Norway, who captured his maiden title at the Copa Sevilla in September.
De Minaur, who gained his first main draw match win at Challenger level at the beginning of this week, battled past Franko Skugor from Croatia with a 7-6, 7-6 victory on Saturday afternoon at the House of Sports. The Australian teenager was more solid on his first serves, winning 75 per cent of the points to prevail in one hour and 41 minutes.
De Minaur will face Steve Darcis, the last seeded player and tournament’s number five, in Sunday’s final. The veteran from Belgium ended the winning streak of Germany’s lucky loser Kevin Krawietz, easing past 6-3, 6-1. Darcis didn’t face a break point, converting four of his own to advance in only 63 minutes.
“It was tough to play against him,” told Krawietz, who seemed to run a bit of steam after this long week in Eckental. “Even at 100 per cent, it would have been difficult for me today.”
Darcis and De Minuar obviously have not met before on the tour. Whereas the Australian youngster will eye his maiden Challenger title, Darcis is looking to lift his third trophy this season, following his triumphs in Lyon and Trnava. It would be the ninth Challenger crown for the 32-year-old Belgian.
In the doubles final, Andrej Martin of Slovakia and Czech Roman Jebavy will face the German-French-combination of Kevin Krawietz and Albano Olivetti.