Sport Tennis Surging Alex De Minaur faces huge test on Roger Federer’s home turf

Surging Alex De Minaur faces huge test on Roger Federer’s home turf

Alex de Minaur has had a breakout year. Photo: AAP
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Alex de Minaur must pass a supreme test against Roger Federer if he is to win a fourth title from four ATP Tour finals appearances this year.

The 20-year-old Australian will attempt to stop Federer claiming a 10th Swiss Indoors title in his hometown of Basel after beating American Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) in their semi-final on Saturday.

“I can’t wait. It’s my first time here in Basel and it’s been a hell of an experience,” said de Minaur, who was granted a wildcard into the event.

“I’ve got my friends with me, so it’s a little bit different and it’s been paying off.

“I’m really looking forward to coming out tomorrow and having some fun.”

In the other half of the draw, Federer dispatched Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4 for his 50th win of the season.

Swiss star Roger Federer has been unbeatable on his home turf. Photo: AAP

The victory marked a record 16th time that 20-time grand slam champion Federer had won 50 ATP tour matches in a calendar year.

He has yet to drop a set at this year’s Basel tournament, where he has now won 23 consecutive matches over the years.

The 38-year-old world No.3 will be playing the 157th tour-level final of his career.

De Minaur has already secured himself a career-high ranking, regardless of the result in the final, as he catapulted himself inside the world’s top 20 for the first time.

Both de Minaur and Opelka dropped serve only once in a match that lasted more than two-and-a-half hours.

Despite Opelka firing 26 aces to De Minaur’s 14, it was the Australian No.1 who prevailed in the tiebreakers to advance to his sixth ATP tour final.

Federer did not drop serve and he broke the 21-year-old Tsitsipas twice in their 78-minute contest.

“It’s hard to believe that I’m in another Basel final. It’s super exciting,” Federer said.

“(The fans) enjoy when I’m playing good tennis and it pushes me to play even better, keep on trying every point and try to make something happen.

“That’s what you do with a home court advantage.”