Felix Auger Aliassime aims to qualify for the 2021 Finals in Turin - UBITENNIS
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Felix Auger Aliassime aims to qualify for the 2021 Finals in Turin

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Felix Auger Aliassime recently trained at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca this month with the goal to reach the top 10 in the ATP Ranking and qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin in November 2021. 

 

Despite the global pandemic Auger Aliassime played in 17 tournaments and held a record of 23 wins and 19 defeats in singles matches. The 20-year-old Canadian player ended the 2020 season at world number 21 in the ATP Ranking. This year he reached three finals in Rotterdam, Marseille and Cologne 1. 

At the age of 19 he became the youngest player to reach finals in consecutive weeks since Novak Djokovic. 

Last February Auger Aliassime reached his second ATP 500 final in Rotterdam finishing runner-up to Gael Monfils. One week later he saved two match points against Stefano Travaglia and three match points against Pierre Hugues Herbert en route to reaching the final at the Open 13 in Marseille. 

At Grand Slam level Auger Aliassime beat 2012 US Open champion Andy Murray en route to reaching his first Grand Slam fourth round in New York. 

Last autumn Auger Aliassime beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinal in Cologne 1 before finishing runner-up to Alexander Zverev in the final. He ended the year with a doubles title in the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 tournament. 

During the off-season Auger Aliassime spent more than one week training at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca. 

“I want to obviously keep on improving. I came to Mallorca to train hard and reach another level. I would love to reach the top 10 and be part of the ATP Finals next year. I think I have what it takes in me and now I need to do well, do work and play good matches. I have to improve my consistency and and play good tennis week after week with good engagement and good intensity every week. If I can do that, I will give myself chances to attain my objective”, said Auger Aliassime. 

During his stay in Mallorca Auger Aliassime had the chance to learn from Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni, who provided him some useful tips. 

“It was great. I did not have the chance to talk to Toni as much as Rafa at the tournaments. To have Toni on the court, to share tennis with him and have him give his feedback on court has been great. That is one of the biggest reasons I came here, to share some experience and to have some knowledge from Toni and it has been amazing. He has helped me a lot so far and he gives me great tips. I like his ethic and mentality”, said Auger Aliassime. 

The young Canadian player was impressed by the Manacor-based Nadal Academy tennis centre, which is currently expanding its facilities with three indoor hard courts and seven covered clay courts. 

“It was my first time, but I have been happily surprised by everything. It is as good as I imagined, even better. I feel like everybody has a very good energy here, a lot of respect, a lot of engagement and passion for the game. For me, as a professional tennis player, there is everything I need to train, recover and have a good time”. 

Auger Aliassime faced many challenges in this difficult year, but this experience made him a more matured player. 

“This year has taught me that there are things that are beyond my control and I have to embrace the challenges. Because of this, I feel like I have matured as a person and I am able to look at the bigger picture. I always want to win and do everything right, but when I think about the bigger picture, I can focus on being the best player and where I want to go in the long term”. 

Auger Aliassime looks forward to the 2021 season, but he admitted that there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the calendar of tournaments. 

“My objectives for next year include preparing myself for each tournament and trying go as far as possible. I am at a stage in my career where I play every tournament to win”. During this year Auger Aliassime has continued contributing to his charitable work with “FAA Points for Change”. For each point he won, he donated money for the education of children in Togo (the country of origin of his father) and the protection of their rights. 

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Elena Rybakina beats Jessica Pegula to reach the Miami Open final

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World number 7 Elena Rybakina beat world number 3 Jessica Pegula 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to reach her second consecutive final at the Miami Open. The Kazakh player moves one win of becoming the fifth player to win back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami completing the Sunshine Double. 

 

Rybakina leads the WTA Tour in match wins in 2023 with a record of 21 wins to just 3 defeats. 

Rybakina needed three sets in her first two matches of the tournament and saved a match point against Paula Badosa before beating Elise Mertens, Martina Trevisan and Jessica Pegula in straight sets. 

Pegula broke Rybakina three times and served for the first set twice at 5-4 and 6-5. Rybakina won the final five points from 2-3 down to clinch the tie-break 7-3 improving her perfect record in tie-breaks to 7-0 this season. 

After a second rain delay Pegula rallied from 0-40 down to hold serve at deuce. The US player earned a break before consolidating it with a hold of serve for 3-0. Rybakina won four consecutive games from 2-4 down to seal the win after 1 hour and 51 minutes. 

“Jessica played really well some moments. It’s not easy to play against her because she keeps the ball really low, and it’s difficult. I was playing today better when I was down. I was doing everything correct”, said Rybakina. 

Rybakina is the first player to serve 10 aces or more in five matches in the same tornament since Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016. 

Rybakina will face the winner of the second semifinal between Petra Kvitova and Sorana Cristea. 

Kvitova beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 3-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Miami Open for the first time in her career. 

Kvitova earned an early break and close out the first set with an ace on her third set point. Alexandrova hit a backhand crosscourt return to break serve for 4-2 in the sixth game of the second set and held on her serve to draw the match level at one set apiece. 

Kvitova saved a break point to hold serve for 4-3 in the third set. The Czech player hit a crosscourt forehand to earn a break for 5-3 and converted her second match point in the next game to seal the win. 

“I am glad that my serve helped me in important moments, especially in the third set. The chance for the break came. I took it, and it was very emotional in the end. I am very happy that I found a way to win it”, said Kvitova. 

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Carlos Alcaraz continues his quest for the Sunshine Double with a win against Taylor Fritz in Miami

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Taylor Fritz 6-4 6-2 to reach his second consecutive semifinal at the Miami Open. Alcaraz continues his quest for the Sunshine Double, a sweep of Masters 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Miami in the same year. Alcaraz converted three of his five break points. Both players ended the match with 20 winners, but Alcaraz made 13 unforced errors to Fritz’s 28. 

 

Alcaraz earned an immediate break in the opening game. Fritz brought up two break points in the second game, but Alcaaraz saved them with half-volleys  to hold on his serve. The Spanish player started the second set with an early break in the first game of the opening set and won the final three games including a break in the seventh game to seal the second set 6-2 after 1 hour and 18 minutes. 

“A little bit of nerves at the beginning of the match. It was new for me, playing against him. I knew that I had to play my game, the way that I was playing the previous matches, a high level for me. Of course I am very happy with the way I started the match, with no mistakes and with a lot of power. It was a key for me to break his serve at the beginning and then play the game”, said Alcaraz. 

Alcaraz has improved his seasonal record to 18 wins to 1 defeats. The Spaniard set up a blockbuster semifinal match against Sinner in a re-match of this year’s Indian Wells semifinal. Alcaraz leads 3-2 in his five head-to-head matches and beat his Italian rival in Indian Wells. Sinner defeated Alcaraz twice last year at Wimbledon and in the Umag final. 

If Karen Khachanov beats Danil Medvedev in the other semifinal, he will overtake Fritz at world number 10 in the ATP Ranking. 

Fritz holds a record of 13 wins to 3 defeats this season. He won the Delray Beach title and reached the quarter final in Indian Wells. 

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Danil Medvedev sets up all-Russian semifinal against Karen Khachanov in Miami

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Danil Medvedev edged US qualifier Christopher Eubanks 6-3 7-5 in a rain disrupted match to reach the semifinals at the Miami Open for the first time. 

 

Medvedev has reached the semifinals at a fifth consecutive ATP tournament after winning three consecutive titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai and reaching the final in Indian Wells. Medvedev has won 22 of his past 23 matches. 

Medvedev saved break points in the fourth game. The match was delayed by rain for half an hour. As the match resumed Medvedev reeled off the next four games to close out the first set 6-3.

Medvedev broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Eubanks broke straight back for 3-4. Medvedev broke again in the 12th game as Eubanks mishit a return on the third match point. 

“I did not play my best tennis before the rain delay. The rain helped go out and have more energy. It helped me and I only played better and better, apart from one bad game on my serve, but it happens”, said Medvedev. 

Medvedev set up a semifinal clash against his compatrion Karen Khachanov, who edged past Francisco Cerundolo 6-3 6-2. Khachanov reached his first ATP Masters semifinal since 2019. 

Cerundolo earned the first break of the match in the fifth game of the first set, but Medvedev broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Khachanov broke for the second time in the eighth game to close out the first set 6-3. 

Khachanov broke twice in the first and fifth games to win the second set 6-2. Cerundolo won just four of 18 points and made 22 unforced errors. Khachanov hit 22 winners to Cerundolo’s 19.

Cerundolo entered this match with a 8-1 record at the Miami Open after reaching the semifinal in last year’s edition. 

Khachanov has moved up to 11th in the ATP Live Ranking and will return to the top 10 if he wins the title. He reached the semifinal at the Australian Open last September. 

“At the end of the day it was a question of finding rhythm. At the beginning, it was pretty windy and I could not where the wind was coming through. I then started to hit through the ball more and I felt better and better. After I broke him back I felt I was on a good rise and felt that I could not miss. That is good feeling to have during a match”, said Khachanov. 

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