Felix Auger-Aliassime takes landmark victory in battle of Next Gen talents - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challenger

Felix Auger-Aliassime takes landmark victory in battle of Next Gen talents

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is a talent set to take the tennis world by storm (Zimbio.com)

If there was any doubt that Felix Auger-Aliassime was a star of the future, then those doubts were put to rest in Lyon today.

The Canadian, 16, took down fourth seed Casper Ruud of Norway 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 in the most anticipated match of the Challenger this year. The youngster produced a remarkable display to move into his second career Challenger semi-final.

Auger-Aliassime won the first set behind a strong first serve display. He made 74% of his first serves, and dropped just two points when he landed the first serve. He scattered a poor second serve performance and broke his fellow teenager’s serve to win the first set.

Auger-Aliassime could have won the match in straight sets had he won the second set. Ruud fought back though, and after the players traded breaks the older man edged the tiebreak 7-4.

Yet Auger-Aliassime was far from beaten. The youngster resorted back to his first set display, not offering Rudd even a single break point. He capitalised on his only opportunity to take the set and the match in two hours and seventeen minutes.

The tournament has been a landmark week already for Auger-Aliassime. It is his third consecutive three set win after having edged both Nicolas Jarry and Laurynas Grigelis in the first two rounds. Ruud is a different class altogether though. The Norwegian has already built a formidable reputation on clay. He won the Seville Challenger last year as a qualifier and reached the semi-finals of the Rio Open this year.

Aliassime has a successful junior career behind him. He is the defending US Open Boy’s Singles champion, and won the Boy’s Doubles title with Denis Shapovalov in 2015. He was also a runner-up in the Roland Garros Boy’s Singles earlier this year.

Auger-Aliassime will have a wonderful chance to make his first Challenger final. He takes on unheralded Kazakh Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the semis. Nedovyesov has also had an excellent week. He has not dropped a set in his three wins. His run has included victories over second seed Marcel Granollers and Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Tristan Lamasine shocked top seed Horacio Zeballos 5-7, 7-5, 6-4. His reward is a match with compatriot Mathias Bourgue. Bourgue defeated qualifier Maxime Chazal 7-5, 7-6.

 

ATP Challenger

Danielle Collins beats Caroline Garcia to reach the second semifinal of her career in Miami

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Danielle Collins beat Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-2 in 80 minutes to reach her second semifinal at the Miami Open. Collins became the first qualifier to reach the semifinal in the history of this tournament. 

Collins achieved her third win against a seeded player in five matches over the past seven days. 

Collins dropped just 11 points in nine service games against Garcia and hit 22 winners to Garcia’s 12. 

Collins earned a break in the eighth game and held serve to seal the first set 6-3. The US player broke serve in the third game of the second set and never looked back to close out the match in 1 hout and 19 minutes. 

Collins has extended her record to 4-0 in her head-to-head matches against Garcia and has not lost a set to her French opponent. 

Collins set up a semifinal match against the winner of Wednesday night’s match between Jessica Pegula and Elena Alexandrova, who beat world number one player Iga Swiatek in the fourth round.  

Collins won two WTA titles in Palermo and San José in 2021 but she has not reached a WTA Tour level final since losing to Ashleigh Barty in Melbourne in 2022. 

“I think Caroline Garcia comes out here and fights her butt off. She hits some really strong shots. I don’t think the set scores are a reflection of how close the match really is”, said Collins. 

Garcia beat Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff to reach the quarter finals in Miami for the first time in her career. The French player was troubled by an injury to her right shoulder and received treatment early in the second set. 

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ATP Challenger

Dominic Thiem To Return At Marbella Challenger, Joins Wawrinka In Stacked Field

Dominic Thiem will be joining Stan Wawrinka in making his return to action at the Marbella challenger next week.

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Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem (@SK_Tennis - Twitter)

Dominic Thiem will finally make his return to the ATP tour at the Marbella challenger next week.

The Austrian hasn’t played a tennis match since retiring at the grass court event in Mallorca last June due to a wrist injury.

Despite being scheduled to play at the Australian Open and at the Indian Wells-Miami swing, Thiem had to postpone his return as he wasn’t quite ready to compete in matches.

However now Thiem has decided to return as he will begin his clay court swing next week at the Marbella Challenger.

The former Roland Garros finalist took to Instagram to announce the news as he looks to climb back up the rankings.

The world number 50 will face tough competition with former Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka also making his comeback at the event in Spain next week.

At the blockbuster event there will also be the likes of Holger Rune, Pablo Cuevas, Jaume Munar and Lucas Pouille competing.

The winner of the event will receive 125 ranking points but much more importantly for Thiem and Wawrinka much needed match practice ahead of a busy European clay-court swing.

Thiem will be the top seed while Wawrinka will be unseeded with their being a possibility of the two heavyweights meeting in the opening round.

Play will start on Monday with Jaume Munar being the defending champion.

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ATP Challenger

Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha

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Roberto Bautista Agut reached the second final of his career at the Qatar Exxon Mobil with a 6-3 6-3 win over defending champion Andrey Rublev. 

Bautista Agut broke serve in the fourth game with a forehand winner to open up a 3-1 lead and held on his next service games to close out the first set 6-3 after 29 minutes. 

The Spaniard started the second set with an early break. Rublev broke straight back in the second game and won his next two service games to take a 3-2 lead. Bautista Agut saved two break points to hold serve before getting two consecutive breaks to claim the second set 6-3. 

Rublev was playing his first match this week after two walkovers. The Russian player claimed the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam last week. 

“It was very difficult to play tennis today, with the windy conditions, but I put a lot of pressure on his second serve and played really good tennis. I played a long match yesterday against Dominic Thiem, but I felt fresh and I had a lot of power on the court. This is one of my favourite tournaments. I played one of my best matches here in Qatar two years ago, and I hope I can win one more match tomorrow”, said Bautista Agut.

Bautista Agut set up a final against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. 

Basilashvili, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter final, rallied from one break down to win the tie-break of the first set 7-3. The Georgian player broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1.  “To reach the final means a lot. I am playing well and I am relaxed. It’s great to play in front of a crowd and a nice atmosphere”, said Basilshvili. 

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