De Minaur Caps Amazing Week With Successful Defense Of Acapulco Title

Alex de Minaur (photo: ATP Tour video)

ACAPULCO/WASHINGTON, March 3, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

Alex de Minaur gave a masterclass in athleticism and tenacity that rewarded him with his second straight Mexican ATP 500 title in Acapulco Saturday night. To the early ball striker went the victory sombrero.

In a battle of 25-year-olds, World No. 9 de Minaur from Australia defeated World No. 11 Casper Ruud of Norway, 6-4, 6-4, in an hour and 52 minutes to win the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC crown.

The Acapulco triumph is de Minaur’s eighth ATP Tour title – his seventh on hard courts – and second on the ATP 500 level.

The Sydney native, who improved to 15-4 this season, became the first player to defend the Acapulco title since the event switched from clay to hard courts in 2014. De Minaur became the fourth different reigning Acapulco champion in tournament history to defend the title, following Thomas Muster, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer.

De Minaur secured the title on his first match-point opportunity with a running backhand volley winner that stunned Ruud. It was his 28th winner of the match and eighth from his backhand side. He outpointed Ruud 76-62 and benefited from three breaks of his opponent’s serve in four opportunities.

Meanwhile, nothing, it seemed, went entirely right for the Norwegian. He was hampered by 22 unforced errors and could muster just eight winners. The victory was the second for de Minaur over Ruud following his earlier round-robin win at the 2019 ATP Next Gen Finals.

“It’s been an amazing week,” De Minaur said during a courtside interview before the trophy ceremony. “Probably a week I didn’t really expect if I’m honest. I came into Mexico not feeling my best and just kept on telling myself to keep giving myself chances. I think today, by far, I played my best match of the tournament, so I’m extremely happy with that.”

Acapulco doubles title is fourth ATP Tour crown for Nys and Zielinski

No. 2 seeds Hugo Nys of Monaco and Jan Zielinski of Poland defeated No. 1 seeds Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Neal Skupski of Great Britain, 6-3, 6-2, in 68 minutes to win the Acapulco title.

The Monegasque/Polish duo improved to 58-40 as a team, first teaming up in 2022 at the Roseto Degli Abruzzi Challenger, before making their ATP Tour debut later that year in Belgrade. Saturday’s title victory was their four at tour level after winning at Metz in 2022 and Metz and the Masters 1000 at Rome last year.

We haven’t played well every week this year, so it’s a real pleasure when you have a strong end of the week like this,” Nys said, quoted by the ATP Tour website.

“This means a lot. It’s been a long time away from home for both Hugo and me,” Zielinski added. “It’s a first 500 title for us, so it means a lot. Not looking at the score it was a really tough match against the hometown favorite Santiago and Neal, who has won here before. It means a lot.”

Nys and Zielinski are ranked No. 7 on the PIF ATP Doubles Team Rankings. Nys is ranked No. 25 (he reached a career-high No. 12 in June 2023) and Zielinski is ranked No. 24 (following a career-high No. 7 in June 2023).

The title earned Nys, 33, and Zielinski, 28, 500 ATP points and they will split $135,510 in prize money.

By the numbers

After losing the Rotterdam final to Jannik Sinner, Alex de Minaur became the first player to make multiple ATP 500 finals in 2024.

“Quotable …”

“Acapulco has been a very good place to me, for my tennis career. First time I’ve won a 500, first time I’ve defended my title in my career. I feel like at home here. It’s a great place to be.”

Alex de Minaur, during his on-court interview, on what it’s meant to him to defend his title in Acapulco.