Felix Auger-Aliassime hits a forehand.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

When Félix Auger-Aliassime finds his rhythm, he is practically unplayable.

That was the case on Friday at the Firenze Open as the Canadian put away Brandon Nakashima in straight sets to reach the semifinals in Florence.

It was a clinic in attacking tennis from Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-final clash as he overcame a sluggish start before blowing Nakashima off the court in a 6-3, 6-4 victory that never really looked in doubt

“Very pleased with my level, it was a great two sets of tennis,” said Auger-Aliassime in his post-match interview. “I think I served well. I had to stay very focused until the end because you never know, matches can come back quickly and I wanted to win in two sets.”

The serve was locked in for Auger-Aliassime on Friday, as he pounded seven aces, put 66 per cent of his first serves in play and won 90 percent of those points. He only lost four points when putting his first serve into play. Once the rally began, the Canadian was also rock solid, hitting twice as many winners as unforced errors 24 to 12.

Nakashima laid down the gauntlet early on, breaking Auger-Aliassime in the opening game. But the Canadian responded immediately with a break of his own before starting to find a rhythm on his serve.

Auger-Aliassime applied constant pressure to the Nakashima serve throughout the opening set, breaking twice in the American’s first three service games to take the initiative with a 5-2 lead. After some early jitters, the Canadian’s serve was untouchable as he never gave his opponent a chance to get back in the set.

There was not let up to start the second, as Auger-Aliassime set up a break point in the opening game and took the early lead when Nakashima netted a volley.

In his second round match, Auger-Aliassime also led by a set and a break but ended up needing three sets for the win. But with the way the Canadian was serving, the result seemed inevitable once he had the break lead.

The only adversity Auger-Aliassime faced on his way to the finish line was having to dig out of a love-30 hold on serve at 4-3, but he reeled off four straight points for the hold. Two games later, he finished off the match with a forehand winner.

Standing between Auger-Aliassime and his third final of 2022, his first since February, is third seed Lorenzo Musetti. The Italian leads their head-to-head 2-1, although all three of their previous meetings came on clay.