De Minaur, Barty ready to lead home charge in Melbourne

Lleyton Hewitt makes his Australian Open predictions

Fifth seed Alex De Minaur of Australia on Saturday defeated Frenchman Gilles Simon in straight sets (6-3, 6-2) to advance to the final of the Sydney International tennis tournament.

The feisty 19-year-old won Sydney on Saturday beating veteran Andreas Seppi 7-5, 7-6 (5).

Earlier in the evening, Ash Barty went down in three sets to Czech Petra Kvitova in a 1-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3) thriller Sydney International final.

Rising star Alex De Minaur comes into the tournament in good form after claiming his first-ever title at the Sydney International.

The world No.29's court coverage was vast as always, regularly chasing down his Italian opponent's forehands and wearing the 34-year-old down over the 2hr 5min clash to make amends for last year's final loss to Daniil Medvedev.

Down in the first set and looking in trouble in the second, the two-time Grand slam victor fought her way back to edge out Barty in a three-set thriller 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

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The 19-year-old Australian assumed control of the match in hot conditions when he broke Simon in his first service game, before wrapping up the match in 94 minutes. "I think that is pretty poor".

Her command at the net and the quality of her volleys was evident throughout the second set, which she won to chalk up a victory in just 57 minutes. "I knew I had to be tough today to back it up from Sydney, and I'm proud to get it done in three sets".

"I'm very happy with my efforts here".

The unseeded 20-year-old put in a dominant performance to win 6-3 6-0. "I didn't want to overthink it and I'm happy with the way I composed myself during the match", said Kenin, ranked 56 in the world.

Every match, just making sure I go out there, compete, just give it my all.

"To finally be able to take that step further and get my first win, it's something that's really special in front of friends and family and on the courts I grew up [on]". In a tournament in which none of the seeded players made it to the final four, Sandgren was playing only his second ATP final - having lost in Houston previous year - while it was the first for wildcard entrant Norrie.

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