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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday June 26, 2021

 
Alex de Minaur

Alex de Minaur edged Lorenzo Sonego to claim his fifth ATP title and his first on grass at Eastbourne.

Photo Source: Getty

Now that Alex de Minaur has earned his first career title on grass, the 22-year-old Aussie is setting his sights on taking the next step at Wimbledon, where he will make his third career main draw appearance next week.

Tennis Express

"I think more than excitement or more than just being happy, my first emotion is relief," De Minaur said after defeating Lorenzo Sonego, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5). "Relief for finally getting these results, the results I've wanted, and obviously ecstatic that I've been able to pull through and play some great tennis—it just gives me exactly what I wanted to come this week: play some good tennis, get ready for Wimbledon, and even though I've had an unbelievable week here, I kind of have to switch the mindset real quick to Wimbledon now."


De Minaur improves to 8-2 on the season on his favorite surface. He also reached the semifinals at Queen’s Club last week before falling to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.

That loss to eventual champion Berrettini at Queen's gave De Minaur some valuable insight into his game against hard-hitting opponents on grass. He realized the importance of being the aggressor on big points and he took that lesson into his match against Sonego on Saturday at Eastbourne.

"Every match has helped me confidence-wise and strategy-wise," he said. "Every match I play I take little things, what I could have done better, what I want to do next time I'm in that same position, for example today even though there were very tight moments in the match I had to tell myself to be aggressive and go for it, because if not then Lorenzo today was going to dictate with his forehand and I probably wasn't going to win most points.

“So I had to learn from my previous matches that if I play the big points and just try to make balls, it's not enough, I have to go to win the match and that's what I did today."

De Minaur will rise to a career-high ranking of No.15 in the world, but it won’t be on his mind as he faces rising American Sebastian Korda in a showdown on Monday at Wimbledon. The pair will meet for the first time on Monday's fourth-scheduled match on Court 14.

"He's a hell of a player," De Minaur said of the 20-year-old World No.50, who will be making his Wimbledon debut. "He's been showing that he can play on every surface, especially lately on grass, he has put up some high quality wins and it's going to be a tough match. Look, I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's going to be a tough match, we're both going to go out there and do our best, have a battle, have a little bit of a war out there and we'll see who comes out victorious."

 

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