In just his second-ever professional match on grass, Félix Auger-Aliassime booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Mercedes Cup thanks to a straight-sets victory over France’s Gilles Simon 7-5, 6-4.
The No.7-seeded Canadian was the only seeded player to win his second-round match in Stuttgart on Thursday.
🇨🇦 Felix Auger-Aliassime is into his 5th Quarter Final of 2019 def. Gilles Simon 7-5 6-4 in 90 mins…FAA 15 aces & won 31 of 39 1st serve points…Will play Dustin Brown next on Friday #ATP #MercedesCup pic.twitter.com/B6nk4C9Avl
— John Horn (@SportsHorn) June 13, 2019
The 18 year old from Montreal got off to a strong start. With the first set tied at 1, he scored an early break thanks to a double fault from Simon. Then, after the Frenchman leveled the set at 4, Simon committed another unforced error on serve to give up a second break point. From there, Auger-Aliassime scored an ace on set point to take the opening set.
In the second set, Félix kept his foot on the pedal. After a double fault by Auger-Aliassime gave Simon a break point, the Canadian bounced right back in the very next game. At 4-4, Félix put home a two-handed backhand winner to secure his fourth break point of the match. He would then close out proceedings with one of his 15 aces.
Félix Auger-Aliassime is through to the quarter-finals of the Stuttgart Open with an impressive 7-5, 6-4 win over Gilles Simon and moves just one win away from a potential semi-final #ClashofCanadians with Milos Raonic. #FélixRising pic.twitter.com/2k5ehS2tS9
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) June 13, 2019
With Thursday’s win, Auger-Aliassime joins fellow Canadian Milos Raonic in the Mercedes Cup quarter-finals. They are the only two seeded players left in the tournament.
Félix will next face German qualifier Dustin Brown, while Milos will match-up with Marton Fucsovics. If both Raonic and Auger-Aliassime were to win, it would set up the first all-Canadian semi-final on the ATP Tour since Rogers Cup back in 2013 (Raonic d. Vasek Pospisil).
It would also mark the second time this season that two Canadians reach the semis of an ATP Tour event. Back in March, both Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov were semi-finalists at the Miami Open – losing to John Isner and Roger Federer, respectively.
Earlier in the day, Denis Shapovalov and partner Rohan Bopanna defeated to French duo of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to advanced to the semi-finals in Stuttgart.
Their victory comes just one day after they stunned the No.3-seeded Bryan brothers in the opening round. The Bryans, who have won 118 doubles titles across 35 different tournaments, were seeking their first Mercedes Cup title before Shapovalov and Bopanna stopped them.
Things won’t get much easier for the Canadian-Indian duo in the semi-finals. The pair will next face the Australian duo of Nick Kyrgios and Matt Reid on Saturday.
The Aussies clinched their spot in the semis with a straight sets win over Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara 6-3, 6-4. Kyrgios and Reid also started their tournament by upsetting the No.2-seeded team of Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor.
Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour