De Minaur, Bolt in Aust Open playoff final

Alex De Minaur and Alex Bolt will duel for a place in the Australian Open after winning their semi-finals of the wildcard playoff.

De Minaur, 18, sent Omar Jasika into a meltdown on Friday in a 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-0 victory, before Bolt, 24, overcame Marc Polmans in three tight sets at Melbourne Park.

Bolt, the world No.190, had too many weapons for Polmans in his 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win.

Bolt saved his best efforts for the high-pressure moments.

The South Australian lifted to win a first-set tiebreaker convincingly, then served three aces to see out the second set.

Polmans took it up to Bolt right to the end but wilted in the third-set tiebreaker.

De Minaur, the 2016 junior Wimbledon finalist, came from behind after dropping his only set of the week against Jasika.

Jasika, last year’s playoff winner, had the match on his racquet after winning the first set and breaking De Minaur once more to begin the second.

Instead, he lost the plot and the next 10 games as De Minaur raced on to book a place in the final in two hours and five minutes.

“I started to be more aggressive,” De Minaur said.

“I was letting him push me around the court a bit and I wasn’t doing enough. I started to stand my ground on the baseline and tried to dictate.”

Both men are looking to make their second appearance in their home slam.

Bolt won through from qualifying last year, losing in the first round to Yoshihito Nishioka.

De Minaur beat Gerald Melzer in a five-set classic then lost to 31st seed Sam Querrey in the second round.

De Minaur said he was driven to play like Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, who was watching from the stands.

“He’s such a big influence and such a great mentor as well,” he said.

“He gives you a lot off the court. I’m trying to resemble him on court, especially with the way I compete and leave it all out there.”

Sunday’s winner secures a place in the main draw of the Australian Open and a guaranteed cheque for $50,000 as a first-round loser – although the loser is likely to receive a discretionary wildcard.

The women’s semi-finals take place on Saturday, with all top four seeds in action.

Arina Rodionova plays Tammi Patterson before Kimberly Birrell faces Destanee Aiava.

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