Félix Auger-Aliassime just can’t stop winning.
In what was his seventh consecutive match in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Auger-Aliassime defeated Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach his third ATP Challenger Tour final of 2018 and fifth of his career.
The Canadian picked up where he left off in his quarterfinal upset over No.2 seed Denis Istomin, playing lights-out in his first two service games with the loss of only one point. Although he would face three break points in the first set, he would save all three and eventually secured the set on a break of Gerasimov’s serve.
The second set saw an exchange of breaks at the very beginning, followed by dominant serving by both players to reach a tiebreak. From there, it was all Auger-Aliassime, who cruised out to a 5-1 lead, eventually sealing victory on his second match point after one hour, 44 minutes.
Three quailes wins and now four in the main draw, Félix Auger-Aliassime defeats Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach the Tashkent Challenger final! @felixtennis is closing in on the Top 100… #Allez #FindYourBeat
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) October 12, 2018
Given Gerasimov’s impressive serving stats this week (he struck double digits in aces in each of his previous matches) it was a credit to Auger-Aliassime’s exceptional returning that the Belarusian was limited to just four aces in the match. The 18-year-old Canadian’s serve continued to hold up impressively as well – he surrendered just one break and won 74 per cent of first serve points on a 66 percent first-serve percentage.
In the final, Auger-Aliassime will face last year’s runner-up Kamil Majchrzak of Poland, who, like the Canadian, has dropped just one set en route to the final. The ranking implications for Auger-Aliassime are significant – if he’s to win, he will reach a career-high ranking of around No. 108, which is the entry cut-off for the Australian Open main draw.
The title on Saturday would also see the Montreal native tie for third in most ATP Challenger Tour titles won aged 18 or younger, following former World No. 4 Tomas Berdych (5) and Richard Gasquet (7).
(Feature photo: Reuters)