Felix Auger-Aliassime Reflects On Historic Miami Open Win And Meteoric Rise - UBITENNIS
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Felix Auger-Aliassime Reflects On Historic Miami Open Win And Meteoric Rise

Starting 2019 ranked 106th in the world, the 18-year-old is now only two wins away from potentially breaking into the world’s top 20.

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Canadian rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime has said he is ‘privilege’ to be compared with some of the biggest names in the world in tennis as his fairytale run at the Miami Open continues.

 

The 18-year-old qualifier has become the youngest player in the history of men’s tennis to reach the semi-finals of the Miami Masters. He achieved the milestone with a 7-6(3), 6-2, win over 11th seed Borna Coric on Wednesday. Playing in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event for only the fifth time in his career, Auger-Aliassime fired eight aces and broke his opponent three times on route to the shock victory.

“Borna has been established for a few years now and I definitely didn’t expect to win.” The world No.57 told reporters afterwards.
“I expected more of a set like in the first, but in the second it really surprised me. I felt like I had a margin over him, a bit of an edge and I felt comfortable out there from the first ball.”

A former teenage tennis prodigy, Auger-Aliassime has managed to break through on the professional tour this season. In February he reached his maiden ATP Final at the Rio Open, which is categorised as an ATP 500 event. Then in Indian Wells, he scored his first top 10 scalp after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets.

It is however at Miami, where he has achieved his biggest milestone yet. The Canadian is only the second qualifier to reach the semi-finals after Guillermo Canas back in 2007. He is also the fourth youngest Masters semi-finalist since 1990.

“I think I’m serving well, so it’s really putting pressure on them (other players).” Auger-Aliassime commented on the development of his game. “With all the matches I’ve played, it brings confidence for the end of matches like this (against Coric) when it’s tight.”

Along with the surge in success, comes the inevitable comparisons. The last teenagers to progress to the last four in Miami were Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray back in 2007. He has already received a lot of praise from his rivals on the tour, including Roger Federer.

“I like his attitude. For someone who is young like him, it’s impressive, we’ve seen it in the past with [Lleyton] Hewitt or [Rafael] Nadal, guys who are already mentally strong.” Federer told Radio Canada last week.
“I think we can put him a bit in that category.”

It could be easy for the youngster to get caught up in all the hype. He is one of three rising stars raising the profile of Canadian tennis. Along with Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu. Describing the reactions he has received as ‘pretty crazy.’ Nevertheless, Auger-Aliassime has developed a good level of maturity at such a young age.

“It’s a privilege to be compared to all of these great players and it shows I’m doing the right things and is on the right track. Right now, I’m just enjoying every day, every match because you never know what is going to happen next.”

Despite his young age, Auger-Aliassime also boast a perfect 5-0 winning record against top 20 opposition. Besides Coric and Tsitsipas, he has also scored wins over Lucas Pouille, Fabio Fognini and Nikoloz Basilashvili.

“A lot of things are working. I’ve just been improving in the last couple of weeks.” He said.
“I don’t want to look back right now. I think I maybe will do at the end of the tournament.’
“I’m looking forward to the next match and how far I can go in this tournament.”

The next challenge for the Next Gen star comes in the form of defending champion John Isner, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in his quarter-final match. Isner is seeking to become only the fifth man in history to win back-to-back Miami titles. Following in the footsteps of players such as Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.

“I think I’ll have to adjust my return position. Look at his match (against Roberto Bautista Agut) to see how he played today, where he likes serving on important points. From there focus myself, what I have to do, and then figure out a way to break him.” Auger-Aliassime said of playing Isner.

Starting 2019 ranked outside the top 100, Auger-Aliassime has also become the first ATP player born in the 2000s to crack the top 30. As it currently stands, he is projected to rise to the mid or low 30s in the rankings next week. Although, he could break inside the top 30 by reaching the Miami final and even the top 20 if he wins the title.

The men’s semi-final matches will be played on Friday.

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ATP Montreal: Ruud Thrashes Auger-Aliassime To Reach Semis, Mixed Results For Brits

Casper Ruud eased past Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up a semi-final meeting with Hubert Hurkacz in Montreal.

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Casper Ruud (@OBNmontreal - Twitter)

Casper Ruud only dropped three games against Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the semi-finals in Montreal.

 

The Norwegian is into the semi-finals in Canada after a dominant performance over home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Ruud dominated from the start of the match as he produced a sublime performance only committing nine unforced errors throughout the match to reach the last four.

Ruud has had a good season on hard courts this season and is looking to make his second consecutive hard court Masters 1000 final after reaching the final in Miami.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted he got a bit lucky but is happy to be in the last four in Canada, “It was one of those days where everything goes in one favour and luckily it was in my favour,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“With a player like Felix, you need to rely on some margins going your way. I didn’t expect them to all go on my side. It was a bit of a difficult start. I got broken but then was able to turn everything around. I hit my spots, made the shots I needed to and make him hit a lot of balls. That was the game plan and it worked well.

“The last hard-court tournament I played in was in Miami where I reached the final. I wanted to make a deep run here. I didn’t think it was too likely, being the first hard-court tournament back, but I have been playing great from the first point in the first match.”

Ruud will look to claim his first Masters 1000 title this week and rise to four in the world in the ATP rankings.

Next for Ruud is the only Masters 1000 champion left in the draw in the form of Hubert Hurkacz.

Hurkacz defeated the in-form Nick Kyrgios 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in Canada.

The eighth seed produced some big-serving and bold decision making as he reached his first semi-final since winning the Halle title.

Heading into their match, Ruud leads the head-to-head 1-0 where the Norwegian was victorious at Roland Garros this year.

Mixed results for British hopefuls

Meanwhile it was a mixed night for British players as Dan Evans reached his second career Masters 1000 semi-final while Jack Draper exited the tournament in the last eight.

Evans defeated Tommy Paul 1-6 6-3 6-4 to reach a landmark moment in his career in Montreal.

After his win Evans described the win as ‘extra special’ as he looks forward to a semi-final meeting with Pablo Carreno Busta, “The crowd, that’s what they buy their tickets for. That’s live sport,” Evans told the ATP website.

“You never know what’s going to happen. It was an amazing match, amazing atmosphere. I played on the court before. In the day it was amazing, but at night, there’s something about playing sport at night, it’s extra special.”

Evans will now play Carreno Busta in the last four after the Spaniard defeated British qualifier Jack Draper 7-6(4) 6-1.

Draper defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the week but was no match for the resilient Spaniard.

Saturday’s semi-final will be the first meeting between Evans and Carreno Busta.

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Canada Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday Features Ruud/Hurkacz and Pegula/Halep

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Simona Halep on Friday in Toronto (twitter.com/NBOtoronto)

The singles and doubles semifinals will be played on Saturday in Canada.  In Montreal, a new men’s singles champion will be crowned, and Hubi Hurkacz is the only semifinalist to have previously won a Masters 1000 event (Miami, 2021).  Hurkacz is also in the doubles semifinals, so it will be a busy day for Hubi.  In singles, he faces a finalist from this year in Miami, Casper Ruud.

 

In Toronto, Simona Halep is the only former champion remaining, and is two wins away from her third title at this event.  On Saturday, she plays Jessica Pegula, who is into the semifinals in Canada for the second straight year.  Like Hurkacz, Pegula is also in the doubles semifinals.  She’s teaming with Coco Gauff, who will become the new doubles No.1 if they win the title.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Hurkacz ended the winning streak of Nick Kyrgios on Friday, taking him out in three sets for the second time this season.  But Ruud was even more impressive on Friday, bouncing back from a marathon victory on Thursday over Roberto Bautista Agut to overwhelm Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, dropping only three games.  Predominantly known as a clay court player, Casper is also establishing himself as a considerable threat on hard courts.  That’s especially true in North America, where Ruud has claimed 16 of his last 19 matches.  But Hubi’s success on this surface remains superior, as does his serving prowess.  While Ruud prevailed in their only previous encounter, just a few months ago at Roland Garros, Hurkacz is the favorite on a hard court.


Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Halep has been dominant through four rounds this week, advancing without the loss of a set.  Simona has quietly put together a strong record of 36-10 this season, though she’s yet to achieve a big result, with only one title at the 250 level at the start of the year.  Pegula only dropped one set this week, to defending champion Camila Giorgi.  And similar to Halep, she’s accumulated a solid record this year (29-14) without winning a title.  This will be the first career meeting between these two players.  Considering Halep is now 25-6 lifetime at this event, and the way in which she has easily prevailed all week, her superior movement and defense should be enough to reach her fourth final in Canada.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Dan Evans – Carreno Busta has played superbly this week, eliminating the likes of Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini without losing a set to this stage.  Dan Evans has survived two grueling three-setters in as many days.  This is their first career meeting.

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Karolina Pliskova (14) – Haddad Maia has earned three big wins across the last three days over Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic, and Leylah Fernandez.  Pliskova is looking to reach the Canada final for the second straight year.  They have split two previous encounters, both on hard courts.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Canada Daily Preview: Quarterfinal Friday in Montreal and Toronto

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Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday in Montreal (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

Canadian No.1 Felix Auger-Aliassime has thrilled crowds in his home country on back-to-back days in Montreal.  On Friday, he faces Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud, who outlasted Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday in a marathon match that went well over three hours.  Other ATP action in Montreal includes Washington champion Nick Kyrgios taking on Halle champ Hubi Hurkacz in a rematch from the Halle semifinals.

 

Coco Gauff has survived two extremely dramatic affairs in as many days, ousting both Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka in third-set tiebreaks.  In the quarterfinals, she plays a two-time champion of this event, Simona Halep.  Toronto’s matches on Friday also feature Jessica Pegula and Karolina Pliskova, both of whom reached the semifinals or better of this tournament a year ago.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Coco Gauff (10) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Between Wednesday and Thursday, Gauff spent exactly six hours on court during the heat of the early afternoon, in two physically and emotionally taxing matches.  By contrast, Halep spent less than half that time on court across those two days, and is yet to drop a set this week.  And their three previous encounters have all been straight-set victories for Simona.  She prevailed on grass three years ago at Wimbledon, on a hard court this year at Indian Wells, and on clay this year in Madrid.  And considering Halep will be the far fresher player on Friday, there’s not much evidence to suggest a different result in her fourth meeting with Coco.


Casper Ruud (4) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Not Before 2:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

What will Ruud have left after a three-set match that lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours?  Auger-Aliassime had a much easier time on Thursday, avenging a loss from less than a week ago in the Los Cabos semifinals over Cam Norrie.  Casper and Felix have split four previous meetings at all levels: two at Challenger events, and two at Masters 1000 events such as this.  Three years ago in Miami on a hard court, Auger-Aliassime won in three sets.  Last year in Madrid on clay, Ruud prevailed in straights.  Accordingly, a hard court would seem to favor Felix, especially considering his superior serving abilities.  Most of Casper’s big results have come on clay, though he did reach the final of Miami earlier this year.  I expected the Canadian to play nervously at this event, as Auger-Aliassime was only 3-3 lifetime here ahead of this week, and had lost four of his last six matches since June.  But Felix has embraced the spotlight of playing in front of a packed Canadian stadium, and should be favored over a depleted Ruud on Friday.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Nick Kyrgios vs. Hubert Hurkacz (8) – Between singles and doubles, Kyrgios is 13-0 over the last 10 days.  Hurkacz saved a match point on Thursday, eventually defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a third-set tiebreak.  Earlier this year in Halle when he played Nick, Hubi also prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Karolina Pliskova (14) vs. Qinwen Zheng – Both players were victorious after tough three-setters on Thursday: Pliskova over Maria Sakkari and Qinwen over Bianca Andreescu.  This is their first career meeting.


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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