Felix Auger Aliassime: "The best moment of the year for me was the US Open" - UBITENNIS
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Felix Auger Aliassime: “The best moment of the year for me was the US Open”

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Canadian teenager Felix Auger Aliassime has become one of the leading players from the generation of the “millennials” since he made his professional debut at the Drummondville Challenger tournament in 2015 when he reached the Main Draw at the age of 14.

 

He ended the 2018 season ranked world number 109, although he missed January due to a knee injury.

“I had a rather start to the season due to an injury and it delayed my results and my development during the year. After that, I got back on track towards the middle of the year and I just started to accumulate wins”, said Aliassime during an interview to Tennis Canada.

The Canadian 18-year-old player was born in Montreal but he was raised in a suburb of Quebec City. He He started playing tennis at the age of 4. His father comes from Togo and his mother is from the province of Quebec.

Felix is one of the three players born in 2000 ranked in the top 400. He finished the 2018 season with six ATP match wins and became the second youngest player to win four Challenger titles behind Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who won five tournaments of this category when he was 18 years and 2 months old.  Aliassime won his first ATP Challenger doubles title with his partner Nicola Kuhn beating Marin and Tomislav Draganja.

He made his debut in an ATP main draw in Rotterdam, where he lost to Filip Krajinovic. The young Canadian grabbed the headlines, when he became the first player born in 2000 to win a Masters 1000 match when he beat Vasek Pospisil at Indian Wells. He lost to Milos Raonic in the second round. He was the youngest player to win a match at Indian Wells since Michael Chang in 1989. Aliassiame received a wild-card for the Montec-Carlo Masters where he lost his opening match to Misha Zverev in three sets. In June he won the ATP Challenger in Lyon, where he successfuully defended his title by beating Johan Tatlot in the final. He became the youngest player to win an ATP Challenger title.

“I had a successful streak of two or three weeks where I was able to get multiple victories, so I am happy with the way I finished the year, not necessarily in terms of ranking, but more regarding the level that I have reached and the confidence that I have gained. It was a year of learning and a year where I gained experience, especially in terms of travelling”.

He received a wild card to play in the main draw of the Canadian Open he upset Lucas Pouille in the first round before losing to Danil Medvedev in three sets.

“One of the most difficult moments was the loss against Medvevev at Rogers Cup, but when I look back at it objectively, it was a great tournament after that win against Pouille. To play an exciting match in front of the home crowd was really great. It will help me to perform even better in Montreal. I want to establish my place in the top 100, to get those few points to break in and continue with my development. That will be my main objective again”.

Two years after becoming the youngest junior champion at the US Open, Aliassime wn three qualifying round matches to reach the Main Draw to make his debut in a Grand Slam tournament at Flushing Meadows. In the first round match against his compatriot Denis Shapovalov, Aliassime was forced to withdraw after the fifth game of the third set due to heat exhaustion.

“The best moment of the year for me was the US Open and the way I qualified for the main draw, using the last opportunity to do that in 2018. It turned out to be a good week despite everything, although I had to leave extremely for not being able to finish to finish that match against Denis”.

He made a quick recovery and returned to the court a few weeks later. He reached his first ATP quarter final in Shenzhen and won his fourth Challenger title in Tashkent.

“With all the thing that happening around me, the expectations regarding my potential, we sometimes forget to stay in the present and appreciate the journey and enjoy each moment. There was the additional pressure that I put on myself that slowed me down, especially at the start of the season. I think that I found the way to put that aside at some point to concentrate and leave the pressure behind”,concluded Aliassime.

 

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‘Another Level’ – Nick Kyrgios Praises Rising Star Jannik Sinner

This week the world No.11 is bidding to win his third consecutive indoor tournament.

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Jannik Sinner (ITA), (Erste Bank Open 2021, Wiener Stadthalle); Copyright: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger

Jannik Sinner’s recent dominance when it comes to playing tennis indoors hasn’t gone unnoticed with one of his peers praising him on social media.

 

The 20-year-old defeated Reilly Opelka in the second round of the Vienna Open on Wednesday in what is his fifth consecutive win on the Tour. Impressively Sinner has now won 18 straight sets on indoor hardcourts. Last Sunday he claimed his fifth Tour title at the European Open to become the youngest ATP player to win that many ATP trophies since Novak Djokovic back in 2007.

Sinner’s achievements were highlighted on social media by journalist Ben Rothenberg who posted a tweet of the 18 sets he has won. That caught the attention of former top 20 player and two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios who paid his own tribute to the Italian.

“He is another level. That’s for sure, played him in Washington doubles. Never played someone who hit the ball as hard,” he wrote.

The two are yet to play against each other in singles competition. In Washington Kyrgios and Frances Tiafoe lost 4-6, 4-6, to Sinner and his partner Sebastian Korda.

Sinner’s latest win in Vienna has boosted his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin next month. He has risen back up the standings to 10th in the race after overtaking Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie. Norrie will play his second round match on Thursday.

“I think I had not so many chances and I used them. I think that was the key today,” Sinner said of his latest win against Opelka. “I served well. My service holds were always quite fast and good. I felt well on the baseline, so I knew when I went in a rally that somehow I was going to win the point. But it’s never easy playing against him. You never have rhythm.”

Awaiting Sinner in the next round will be Austria’s Denis Novak who is currently ranked 116th in the world and is yet to beat a top 10 player in his career.

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Andrey Rublev moves past Ilya Ivashka to reach the quarter finals in St. Petersburg

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Andrey Rublev overcame Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes to advance to the quarter finals for the third time in his career in St. Petersburg Open. 

 

Rublev fended off all seven break points and earned two breaks in the seventh game of the first set and in the third game of the second set. The Moscow native player fired 10 aces and won 84 % of his first service points. 

The eight-time titlist is aiming to win his third career title on home soil after his previous titles in Moscow 2019 and St. Petersburg 2020. 

Rublev set up a quarter final clash against either Sebastian Korda or Botic Van de Zandschulp.Karen Khachanov knocked out Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3 after 1 hour and 25 minutes. Khachanov will take on 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who eased past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Cilic leads 1-0 against Khachanov in their only previous head-to-head match in Cincinnati in 2018.

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Matteo Berrettini rallies from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in Vienna

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This year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini came back from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvlili 6-7 (5-7 ) 6-3 6-2 after 2 hours and 5 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Erste Bank in Vienna. 

 

Berrettini saved all three break points he faced and hit 22 aces, including two on the last two points of the match. 

Number 3 seed Berrettini had won three of his previous head-to-head matches against Indian Wells finalist Basilashvili, but they met for the first time on in indoor court. Berrettini had beaten Basilashvili in Winston Salem 2018, Halle 2019 and Rome 2021. 

Both players went on serve in the first set. Berrettini saved the only break point in the second game. Basilashvili earned a mini-break to take a 3-1 lead. Berrettini pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. Basilashvili earned another mini-break on the 10th point to earn two set points at 6-4 and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Berrettini saved a break point to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Italian player earned a break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and held his next service games before closing out the second set with a double break in the ninth game. 

Berrettini went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game of the decider. The Queen’s tournament champion faced a break point in the seventh game after a double fault, but he saved it with an ace. He served out the third set 6-3 with his 22nd ace. Berrettini set up a quarter final match against Spanish Next Gen player Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Andy Murray 6-3 6-4.

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