Photo: Open de Nice Côte d’Azur|Photo : Vianney THIBAUT
Félix Auger-Aliassime is off to the final in Lyon after defeating top-seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the semifinals on Friday.
The 18-year-old is now the youngest player to reach two or more finals on the ATP Tour since Andy Murray managed the feat at the same age over the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
The Canadian certainly didn’t make it easy for himself. After failing to save the first two break points he faced, Auger-Aliassime kept his composure and rallied from behind.
During the match’s final two sets, the young Canadian saved all seven break points he faced, tallied 10 aces and won 40-of-47 first-service points to dispatch Basilashvili. He only broke the Georgian once in the final set, taking a 4-3 lead that he would never look back from.
The 18-year-old Canadian is through to his SECOND final of the season (also ever) with a stunning 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 win over top seed Basilashvili in Lyon. He'll face Benoit Paire for the trophy at 8:30am ET.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) May 24, 2019
The Montreal-native will now face Frenchman Benoit Paire in the final, the same person who defeated his compatriot and friend Denis Shapovalov in the quarter-finals.
But history might prevent Auger-Aliassime from falling victim to the same fate that Shapovalov did.
Thanks to two previous Challenger titles in Lyon, Félix has yet to lose in France’s third-largest city and will enter Saturday’s final with a perfect 13-0 record.
However, win or lose in the final, Auger-Aliassime will improve on his career-best ranking by jumping up to 22nd in the world, which would place him two spots ahead of Shapovalov.
His appearance on Saturday will also mark just the second time in his young career that he’ll play in an ATP final – both of which have taken place on clay.
You’ll recall that Auger-Aliassime lost in the Rio Open final against Serbia’s Laslo Djere back in February, which prevented the Canadian from earning his first ever ATP Tour title.
If Auger-Aliassime were to win in Lyon, he would become the youngest champion since Kei Nishikori won the 2008 Delray Beach Open at 18 years of age.
Can Auger-Aliassime secure his first ever ATP Tour title on Saturday? Tune in on Tennis TV tomorrow around 8:30am ET to watch.
(Feature photo: Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)