Photo: Martin Sidorjak
If there was any concern about a title hangover after his breakthrough win last week in Rotterdam, Félix Auger-Aliassime is putting it to bed.
The Canadian remains on track for a second final in as many weeks after a dominant performance against Ilya Ivashka to reach the semi-finals of the Open 13 in Marseille.
In the quarter-final clash, Auger-Aliassime spotted his opponent an early lead before catching fire and grinding his Belarusian opponent into submission 6-3, 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime got the job done with a solid 74 percent of his first serves won and eight aces. He was opportunistic on return, winning 60 percent of Ivashka’s seconds serve points and 48 percent of his opponent’s overall service points.
After surrendering serve in his opening game and falling into an early 0-2 hole, Auger-Aliassime quickly rebounded by winning five straight games, eventually taking the opening set 6-3.
Ivashka had no answer for the Canadian’s athleticism and consistency, struggling to hang with Auger-Aliassime in the longer rallies.
Not even a medical timeout to get his ankle taped was able to slow the third seed down, as Auger-Aliassime nicked the line with a backhand to set up an early break point, on which he drew an error to take the lead in the second set.
He suffered a brief hiccup after securing the double break, missing an easy volley to give one back, but the Canadian quickly righted the ship and hung on to book his spot in the final four.
There will be no rematch of the Rotterdam final in Marseille, as Auger-Aliassime will meet Roman Safiullin, who upset top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the semi-finals. The Canadian was the runner-up at this event in 2020.
Shapovalov falls in doubles final
Denis Shapovalov’s bid for a first doubles title fell short earlier on Friday, as he and partner Rohan Bopanna were defeated in the Doha doubles final by Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski in straight sets.
It is the second week in a row where Shapovalov and Bopanna were beaten by Koohhof and Skupski, having fallen to the pair in the Rotterdam quarter-finals.
The Canadian is now 0-2 in doubles finals in his career, although this was his first doubles final in almost three years.