In his semi-final victory against Soonwoo Kwon on Thursday, the second seed covered every blade of grass and strained every muscle in his body to win an epic point at 3/1 in the second set tie-break.
De Minaur was just millimetres from the net as he scampered to return Kwon’s drop-volley. The 22-year-old was forced onto his tiptoes, and also waved his arms and racquet over the net in a desperate attempt to retain his balance. Having successfully halted his forward momentum, De Minaur then charged back to fetch the South Korean’s lob.
Miraculously, he won the point by reaching Kwon’s following volley, hitting home a backhand winner into the empty court. The Australian, who went on to win 6-3, 7-6(2), lifted the Eastbourne crowd to their feet with his incredible agility and movement and lit up the day.
“I wasn’t sure if I can go over the net and use part of the racquet to push off, but my biggest concern was to not touch the net, so I did everything I could to stop my forward momentum,” reflected De Minaur Sunday after winning his fifth ATP Tour title. “Somehow, I didn’t touch the net and won that point. It was a big point in the tie-break and it made all the difference.”
Although De Minaur’s arms and racquet crossed over the net, that is allowed under the rules.
A player loses the point if he touches the net while the ball is still in play. But if his racquet or upper body cross the net after hitting the ball on the correct side, that’s all within the rules. Play continues if no contact is made with the net or the opponent’s court while the ball is in play or any hindrance caused to his opponent.
De Minaur will now head to Wimbledon as the 15th seed and will face #NextGenATP star Sebastian Korda in the first round. If he can replicate the brilliance shown in Eastbourne at SW19, he is on course to have further success.