ACCUEIL   Nouvelles

Auger-Aliassime through to fifth ATP final, to face Tsitsipas for maiden title

Feb 22, 2020
Par: Tennis Canada

It’s been a week of comebacks for Félix Auger-Aliassime at the Open 13 in Marseille, France – and they didn’t stop in Saturday’s semi-final.

The Canadian defeated Gilles Simon 7-5, 7-6(2) to reach his second consecutive final in as many weeks and a fifth final in his young career, booking a showdown with junior rival Stefanos Tsitsipas for the trophy.

To understand just how impressive this week has been for the Auger-Aliassime, let’s look back a bit. In the first round, the Canadian teenager – coming off a runner-up finish at the ABN AMRO WTT in Rotterdam just days prior – survived two match points against Stefano Traviglia, against whom he came from a set down to advance.

Against Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round, Auger-Aliassime saved three match points in a thrilling final-set tiebreak to overcome the Frenchman and book a quarter-final with Egor Gerasimov, who upset No. 4 seed David Goffin in the round prior. Gerasimov shot out to a 5-2 lead against FAA, but the Montreal native was able to reel the Belarusian back in with measured tennis to advance in straight sets to Saturday’s semi-final versus Simon.

Although he didn’t have to save match points against Simon in the semis, he did have to once again recover from a 2-5 deficit in the first set. With the French crowd vocally backing their home favourite, Auger-Aliassime was already playing at a disadvantage and struggled to find ways to overcome the energized Simon’s metronomic baseline resiliency. Spraying forehand errors with discouraging regularity, it became tough to imagine another comeback for the Canadian.

But he did.

Once again, Auger-Aliassime was able to find measure off his groundstrokes, as his forehand-and-backhand combination became a sword-and-shield artillery that forced Simon to retreat farther and farther back behind the baseline. Suddenly, the score was 7-5 in favour of FAA.

The French-speaking Auger-Aliassime has been a fan-favourite in both France-based tournaments he has played in this February – except when facing Frenchmen. As a result, Simon was able to re-harness the crowd’s backing to keep the score level with the Canadian in the second set despite the disappointment of letting his lead slip in the first.

With no break points generated by either player, the second set quickly veered into a tiebreak. Auger-Aliassime was the first to pounce, earning a mini-break early on with the aggressive but controlled play off both wings that has been the source of his February success. Finding little victories in playing back behind the French veteran, a brilliant overhead off a desperate Simon high ball ultimately gave him the 5-2 lead and enough distance in the score to close out the match with ease.

Ultimately, it was a Simon double fault sealed the victory for Auger-Aliassime, sending the No. 7 seed into his second final of 2020 and a shot at the maiden title that has thus far eluded the Canadian who is playing only his second year at as a pro at the ATP Tour level.

Auger-Aliassime’s final against World No. 5 and reigning Nitto ATP Tour Finals champ Tsitsipas will be played tomorrow at 8am ET on Tennis TV.

(Feature photo: Open 13)