De Minaur eyes top 20 after ground-breaking win
A BOUYANT Alex de Minaur is confident he can break into the world's top 20 before the end of the year after winning the Zuhai Championship at the weekend.
The 20-year-old will rise to 25 when the ATP rankings are released this week after he beat France's Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in a two-hour decider in China on Sunday.
It capped off a memorable week during which he him three-time grand slam winner Andy Murray, world No.14 Borna Coric and 10th-ranked Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on his way to his third title of the year.
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His trophy in China will sit alongside the ones he won in Sydney and Atlanta earlier this year and earned him a share of second spot on the 2019 tour-level titles leaderboard.
Rafael Nadal leads the way with four titles and De Minaur joins Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev on three.
With four more tournaments taking place before the end of the year, De Minuar is targeting more success.
"I want to keep on pushing," he said.
"I've got four more ATPs to go and I've got to push as hard as I can to keep putting myself in good positions. So I'll do everything I can to recover and on we go to Tokyo."
De Minaur was almost flawless on serve, never facing a break point, but squandered 12 chances to go up a break against his French opponent until the final point of the match, when Mannarino netted a backhand.
"I felt like Adrian just played better than I did in those moments," De Minaur said.
"I just told myself I had to try and take control of the point and just try to dictate as much as I could. I'm happy it ended there."
The pair may not have to wait for long to play each other again, as first-round wins at next week's Japan Open would set up a last-16 showdown.