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By Marco Madonia | Sunday, October 25, 2020

Ugo Humbert

A day after saving four match points, Ugo Humbert powered past Alex de Minaur 6-1, 7-6(4) winning his second title of the season in Antwerp.

Photo credit: European Open Facebook

Fighting spirit elevated Ugo Humbert to the Antwerp final.

Humbert was in full flight rising to his second title of the season—and solidifying his status as a player with a bright future.

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Streaking forward, Humbert blocked a drop volley winner then dropped to his knees in celebration powering past Alex de Minaur 6-1, 7-6(4) in the European Open final.

The 22-year-old Frenchman did not drop serve in a near flawless performance to collect his first title since he conquered compatriot Benoit Paire to win Auckland in January.

The explosive left-hander opened the court with his serve and beat de Minaur in key baseline exchanges raising his Antwerp record to 8-1.

The title triumph caps a tremendous week for Humbert, who fought off four match points in yesterday's semifinals taming Dan Evans 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4. Humbert joins Jiri Vesely, Novak Djokovic and Reilly Opelka as the fourth man to save match points en route to an ATP title this season.

Tennis Express

In the semifinals, Humbert repeatedly tormented Evans with the wide serve on the ad side to set up first-strike forehands.

Playing the second final of his career, Humbert showed his loose-limbed versatility dotting all areas of the service box against one of the game's toughest returners.

“I’d like to congratulate Ugo you definitely deserved to win today,” de Minaur said. “I just want to congratulate you and your team.

"This is a very important week for me. I’ve managed to get back to the level I want to and play another final, which is great for me. I’m very happy where I am. This is a huge step in the right direction.”

Exuding confidence from the start, Humbert won eight of the first 10 points breaking for a 2-0 lead.

The 38th-ranked Humbert flicked a low forehand pass down the line that challenged the Aussie enough to shovel a half-volley into net. That sequence gave Humbert a second break and 5-1 lead.

The left-hander whipped the wide serve effectively on the ad side snatching a one-set lead after 38 minutes.

Credit de Minaur for regrouping and threatening in the second set. Down love-30 in the eighth game, Humbert answered with a series of heavy first serves digging out of trouble to level 4-all.

The 29th-ranked Aussie saved a pair of break points holding for 5-4. Humbert scored the early mini-break in the tiebreaker and never relinquished it closing his second career ATP title in one hour, 37 minutes.


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