Aussie No. 1 Alex de Minaur is on the verge of a top 20 return, just four weeks away from the US Open after winning the Atlanta Open for the second time.
The 23-year-old captured his sixth career ATP title – all at 250 – and the first in 2022, beating American Jenson Brooksby 6-3 6-3 in 91 minutes.
De Minor’s victory came before Australian Open champions Tanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios in the 7–6 (7–4) 7–5 doubles final in Atlanta over compatriots Jason Kubler and John Pearce.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have won 14 of their 16 matches together this season, including advancing to the semi-finals of the Miami Masters and also claiming their first Grand Slam title.
De Minor’s win was his second title in Atlanta, he also won the singles title in 2019 by defeating another American, Taylor Fritz, before being placed in the bottom 16 at that year’s US Open, which starts in late August.
The tournament was not played the following season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and de Minaur missed last year’s tournament while recovering from the virus.
Fellow Australian and close friend Matt Reed coached him for a week, while his usual mentor Adolfo Gutierrez joined him at this week’s ATP 500 event in Washington.
Australian Davis Cup assistant coach Jamon Crabbe also supported him in Atlanta.
“My coach (Gutierrez) is on his way to Washington right now. He’s on a plane and couldn’t watch the final, so hopefully when he lands he gets a little notification on his phone,” de Minaur said.
“I have Matt Reed there who helped me this week. He took the time out of his very busy schedule to come here and help me and we’re unbeatable as a team so thank you so much.
“Jamon Crabbe is here on the Davis Cup business, but he (also) spends many hours in the hot, hot summer in Atlanta.”
Third-placed De Minaur proved too strong for Brooksby in their first meeting, breaking the world No. 43 four times and missing just one serve.
The match ended in favor of the Australian star in the sixth game of the first set, when he took a 4-2 lead after hitting a couple of break points three games back.
That was enough for De Minor, who had come out of the set in the previous two rounds, to take a one set lead before the opponents traded breaks to start the second set.
Neither player had another break point until Game 7, when de Minaur wore Brooksby down with several extended plays before the American consistently threw tired right hands into the net to concede the serve.
As a result, the Australian will rise from 30th place in the rankings to 21st. and within sight of his career rating of 15.
De Minaur has reached the fourth round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, but will look to at least replicate his best quarter-final run at the 2020 US Open when he competes in New York.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis scored 15 aces past Kubler and Pierce and converted the only break in the final game to seal the win in tight sets.
It was an unlikely turn of events for Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios, who withdrew ahead of a first-round singles clash in Atlanta with left knee pain but continued to compete in doubles.