Sakharov finishes runner-up
Felix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, QC) was crowned champion at the Subaru Sherbrooke Futures presented by Énergie 106,1. Sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the tournament, which offers $25, 000 U.S. in total prize money, was held from March 4-12, 2017 at the Christian Bourque indoor tennis courts of the Rock Forest Recreation Centre in Sherbrooke.
In the final match of the tournament, Auger-Aliassime faced a tough opponent in Gleb Sakharov of France, the third seed. The Frenchman benefited from a walkover in his semi-final match when Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON) pulled out of the tournament due to an illness.
The first set was tight between the two, with both players engaging in long rallies. Auger-Aliassime had two break point opportunities early in the first, but failed to convert. He was eventually broken by his opponent late in the set. Sakharov was able to close out the set after 43 minutes of play.
Auger-Aliassime began the second set with a strong service game. After Sakharov asked for a medical timeout (ankle), play resumed. The set featured heavy hitting from both players, with neither giving an inch. The Canadian was finally able to convert on a break point opportunity, taking the lead for the first time in the match, much to the delight of the crowd. He consolidated his break and eventually took the set.
In the decisive set, the Canadian managed to go up an early break and never looked back. Relying on his effective serve, he took control of the match. The Canadian tallied a total of six aces, three of them coming in the final set. After over two hours of play, Auger-Aliassime, a tournament wildcard, defeated his French opponent, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. This is his second singles title on the ITF Futures Circuit.
“I am very happy to have won my first Futures tournament here in Canada,” stated Auger-Aliassime. “I would like to thank the fans for coming out and supporting us all week. This was a great week of tennis and you guys really made this win special for me”.
For Sakharov, this was his second final in consecutive tournaments, having lost last week in Gatineau to another young Canadian star, Denis Shapovalov. Despite the loss, he was very appreciative of the reception that he received from the fans. “Thanks to all of you who came out to watch this match today. In the last two weeks, I have reached back-to-back finals and this has been a great experience for me,” said the runner-up.
Both players will be in action this coming week at the National Bank Challenger in Drummondville.
Feature image by: Yves Longpré