Tennis Prodigy Félix Auger-Aliassime Claims Historic Title In France - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Prodigy Félix Auger-Aliassime Claims Historic Title In France

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Felix Auger Aliassime (zimbio.com)

Canadian teenager Félix Auger-Aliassime has become the seventh youngest player in history to win an ATP Challenger title after defeating Mathias Bourgue 6-4, 6-1, in the final of the Open Sopra Steria de Lyon.

 

Dropping his serve during the early stages of the match to go behind 3-1, the Canadian 16-year-old impressed by fighting back and holding his next seven service games. Securing the title in just under 80 minutes, Auger-Aliassime won 64% of his service points and successfully converted four out of his five break point opportunities.

The current US Open boys champion is the youngest player to win a ATP Challenger title since Bernard Tomic in 2009 and the first born in the year 2000. His route to the title saw Auger-Aliassime play just one seed in the tournament, fourth seeded Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals.

Since his breakthrough tournament at the 2015 Granby Open, the Canadian teenager has gradually climbed the rankings. At that tournament he reached the quarter-finals as a qualifier at the age of 14 and became the youngest player to break the top-800. Following his latest title in Lyon on Sunday, he is set to break the top-250 for the first time in his career.

Auger-Aliassime’s triumph is also a boost for Canadian tennis. He is the third player from his country to win a Challenger title after Denis Shapovalov (Drummondville) and Vasek Pospisil (Busan). The last time three different Canadian men won Challenger titles was in 2013.

Next up for the rising star will be the Internationaux de Tennis de Blois. He will play France’s Gianni Mina in the first round. A win could set him up for a meeting with top seed Damir Dzumhur in the second round.

List of youngest ATP Challenger champions

Position Player Age Tournament
1 Michael Chang 15 years,7 months Las Vegas, USA, 1997
2 Richard Gasquet 16 years,0 months Montauban, FRA, 2002
3 Bernard Tomic 16 years,4 months Melbourne, AUS, 2009
4 Kent Carlsson 16 years,7 months New Ulm, GER, 1984
5 Marcos Ondruska 16 years,7 months Durban, RSA, 1989
6 Rafael Nadal 16 years,9 months Bartella, ITA, 2003
7 Félix Auger-Aliassime 16 years, 10 months Lyon, FRA, 2017
8 Novak Djokovic 17 years,0 months Budapest, HUN, 2004

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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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ATP Challenger

Andy Murray defeated in the final of the Biella Challenger

The former world number was runner-up to the Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko. Both will feature in next week’s event in the same location

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Andy Murray - ATP Challenger Biella 2021 (Credit: Felice Calabrò)

Andy Murray suffered a surprising defeat in the final of this week’s tournament in Biella. Playing his second Challenger event in 16 years (the other one occurred in Mallorca in 2019 when, limping on a battered hip, he lost against Matteo Viola in the eighth of finals). Before today’s runner-up finish, he had played twice against his opponent, Illya Marchenko from Ukraine (N.212 in the ATP Rankings), both times at the Australian Open, in 2011 and 2017 respectively, winning both times.

 

But it was the Ukrainian who got off to a flying start, while the Scotsman looked a bit cumbersome and immediately lost his serve, giving a nice boost of confidence to his opponent, who broke his serve once more in the fifth game, taking a 4-1 lead. Murray couldn’t control his changes of pace, while Marchenko was pretty much spotless. The 6-2 score in his favour was the logical consequence, as confirmed by the numbers, which saw him win 83% of points on his first serve (against a meagre 53% for Murray), with no break points allowed.

In the first game of the second set, Marchenko immediately leapt ahead, breaking the Brit’s serve and even earning a chance for a 3-0 lead. Murray managed to stay close and started to play in a more conservative way, with great humility, in an attempt to reduce the number of unforced errors. Murray saved a match point at 3-5 with his second serve, exploiting Marchenko’s clumsiness with the backhand, but couldn’t do the same on the return, conceding defeat at the third match point. must defend with the second. Luckily for him, Marchenko is a bit clumsy in his preparation steps and puts up a not particularly difficult backhand. The former world number one will try to exact revenge in the same location starting tomorrow, as a Challenger 125 will take place once more in Biella, with players like Lorenzo Musetti (the seventh seed), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ATP N.54) and Sebastian Korda (N.88).

Report by Massimo Gaiba; edited by Tommaso Villa

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ATP announces five-week ATP Challenger calendar for 2021

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The ATP has issued a five-week schedule for the start of the 2021 ATP Challenger Tour, which is scheduled to launch on 18th January with a 125-event in Istanbul. The Turkish city celebrates its 31st consecutive year on the Challenger Tour.

 

Turkey will host three consecutive tournaments at the start of the season. Istanbul will host a hard court tournament from 18th January. The tour will move to the seaside town of Antalya, the venue of two clay tournaments on 25th January 2021 and 1st February 2021. 

The week of 25 Januray will be the first of back-to-back Challenger events in Antalya and an indoor hard-court tournament in the French town of Quimper. 

France will host two more indoor tournaments, the 125-level tournament in Orleans (1 February) and the 28th edition of Cherbourg (8 February). 

Cherbourg will be held in the same week as hard-court tournaments in Biella in Italy and Potchefstroom in South Africa. Biella will also host a 125-level tournament in the following week on 15 February. Potchefstroom will host a second consecutive tournament on 15 February. Challenger-level tournaments will feature 32 singles players and qualifying draws with 16 players. 

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