Australian teenager Alex De Minaur showed fight but has missed the chance to make his first ATP World Tour final after losing to experienced American Ryan Harrison in the Brisbane International semi-finals.
The 18-year-old De Minaur, ranked 208 in the world, lost 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 to the 47th-ranked Harrison on Pat Rafter Arena on Saturday afternoon, missing out on a potential match-up with countryman Nick Kyrgios in the final.
Kyrgios is to face top seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second of the men’s semi-final.
It had been a dream run this week for the Spain-based De Minaur, who defeated former world number three Milos Raonic in the second round.
De Minaur was the youngest Australian to make an ATP World Tour semi-final since Lleyton Hewitt in 2000.
And Hewitt, Australia’s Davis Cup captain, was cheering on De Minaur courtside, as the teenager did his best impersonation of the two-time major winner.
Just like his idol, De Minaur went down swinging despite letting a huge opportunity slip in the second set.
With De Minaur up 5-3 in the second-set tiebreak, Harrison dug deep to ignore the vocal crowd and rattle off the next four points to claim it 7-5.
It appeared to be a massive blow to De Minaur’s spirit, as Harrison broke twice to grab a 4-0 third-set lead.
But De Minaur broke back with Harrison serving for the match at 5-2 to bring the packed crowd to life again.
It was too little, too late, however, for De Minaur.
It was still a big week for De Minaur, whose ranking will rise to 166 after reaching his maiden ATP World Tour semi-final.
He was the lowest ranked player and the youngest to reach the semi-finals of the men’s draw in the Brisbane International’s 10-year history.