Felix Auger-Aliassime pumps his fist. He easily wrapped up his third-round win over Ben Shelton at the French Open on Saturday. Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu will also play.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Félix Auger-Aliassime delivered a clinic in power tennis as he dominated 15th seed Ben Shelton in their third-round clash at the French Open, which took two days to complete due to the incessant rain that has been wreaking havoc on the year’s second major. 

The pair only completed nine games on Friday evening before the weather made them wait until morning. When they returned, it was one-way traffic for the 21st-seeded Canadian who won 13 of 16 games on Saturday morning to reach the last sixteen at Roland-Garros with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 win. 

Auger-Aliassime is the last Canadian standing at Roland-Garros in singles after both Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu were eliminated on Saturday.  

Through three matches so far in Paris, Auger-Aliassime has yet to play one that did not have a rain delay. However, none have slowed down his progress. By reaching the fourth round, he matches his best result at the French Open.  

It was a matchup between two powerful players and the Canadian showed his young opponent how it’s done, hitting 28 winners to just 18 unforced errors and dropped just five points on his first serve in the entire match, an 86 per cent win rate. For the second time in the tournament, Auger-Aliassime did not face a break point on serve. The American had more than twice as many unforced errors as winners, 36 to 17. 

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Shelton’s best chance to break serve came in the Canadian’s first service game of the match, when Auger-Aliassime double-faulted twice and the American got to deuce. But still no break points were seen and Auger-Aliassime got out unscathed. Shelton would not win more than two points in a game on the Montrealer’s serve for the rest of the match. 

In the very next game, sloppy play from Shelton cost him as an error set up a break point for Auger-Aliassime and the American proceeded to double-fault, gifted the early lead to the Canadian. 

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That lone break held for the duration of the opening set. Auger-Aliassime had a chance to break for the set at 5-3 but Shelton saved it with a winner. The 21st-seed then had to wait as play was postponed before he could serve for it at 5-4, with the match eventually being held over until Saturday morning. 

When they returned, Auger-Aliassime came out flying. He immediately held to take the set and then once again took advantage of mistakes from Shelton to break in the opening game of the second. The next time the American stepped up to the line, he handed the Montrealer another break by hitting three consecutive unforced errors. In total, Auger-Aliassime won the first five games after play resumed to close out the first set and go up 4-0 in the second. 

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Set three followed a similar script. Shelton was unable to keep up in the rallies with his opponent’s powerful, consistent hitting and threw away the break in an error-filled opening game to start the third set.  

A hold to love for 1-2 was all the American could manage in the final set as Auger-Aliassime kept him under constant pressure. The Canadian won the last four games in a row, breaking twice including in the final game, to book his spot in the last sixteen at Roland-Garros for the second time in his career. 

The last time Auger-Aliassime reached the fourth round of the French Open, he went up against a superstar Spaniard. He will have to go through a different one, albeit one seeking his first title in Paris rather than his 14th. 

Carlos Alcaraz now stands between the Montrealer and a first quarter-final at Roland-Garros, the only major where he has not reached the last eight. Auger-Aliassime actually leads the head-to-head with Carlos Alcaraz 3-2, although the Spaniard has won the last two meetings. This will be their first clash on clay. 

Shapovalov Outhit by Hurkacz

Like Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov found himself battling both the weather and a big-hitter in his third-round clash, but those conditions got the better of the Canadian No. 2 who fell to eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in four sets. 

Shapovalov was looking to reach the fourth round of Roland-Garros for the first time, having matched his previous best result by reaching round three. However, Hurkacz’s big serve kept the Canadian at bay and Shapovalov was eliminated in the round of 32 for the second year in a row 6-3, 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-1. 

Despite his 35 winners, Shapovalov struggled to solve the big Pole’s serve, winning just 26 per cent of return points in the match. He also did himself few favours by committing 51 unforced errors and double-faulting six times. 

Shapovalov got into immediate trouble as Hurkacz laced a forehand winner down the line to set up a break point in the Canadian’s first service game. Shapovalov struck his forehand into the net to give the Pole a dream start. 

Hurkacz is one of the most efficient servers on tour and having an immediately lead effectively wrapped up the set in the opening minutes. He lost just two points on serve as he raced through the first set. 

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Both men had their chances throughout the second set to take the lead but could not convert. Having narrowly avoided dropping serve at 4-4, the Canadian piled on the pressure late in the set. He pushed Hurkacz to multiple deuces in the 10th game before having a golden opportunity to wrap up the set when he led 15-40 on the Pole’s serve at 6-5.  

But Hurkacz hit another level for the next few minutes. From 6-5, 15-40, the Pole won the next 15 points in a row, saving both set points to hold serve, sweeping the tiebreak 7-0 to make it a two-set lead, holding to love to kick off the third set and then taking a love-30 lead on Shapovalov’s serve before finally the Canadian halted the run. 

With Shapovalov serving at 1-2, deuce, in the third set, the rain intervened for a second time, this time forcing the match to be postponed until Saturday. 

Even the restart was delayed by rain until after 6 pm local time. When they returned, Shapovalov immediately threw in a couple of double faults to gift a break to Hurkacz.  

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But Shapovalov was not going away quietly. He started controlling the rallies and grinding out the big Pole. He immediately broke back to love and then had some luck go his way, having generous net cord give him another break point in Hurkacz’s next service game. The eighth seed missed a forehand to give the Canadian the decisive break in the set. 

Any momentum that Shapovalov had dissipated immediately in the fourth set. Errors began to creep back into his game and he gifted a pair of breaks to Hurkacz, quickly falling behind 5-0. It proved to be too big a hole to climb out of as the Pole only lost three points on serve once he had the break advantage. 

Andreescu Can’t Complete Another French open Comeback 

Bianca Andreescu found herself facing a similar situation to her second-round match when she fell behind early in round three against 12th seed Jasmine Paolini. While she put up a fight, the Canadian could not complete another comeback, falling in three sets. 

At times, the former US Open champion showed flashes of the form that once saw her in the Top 10, but she was unable to maintain a high level throughout and Paolini pounced whenever she had the chance in the 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 win. 

Paolini feasted on return in the match, winning 53 per cent of Andreescu’s service points, including 51 per cent on her first serves. She also had a dozen chances to break and converted half of them, while Andreescu only had three break point chances in the match. 

Right from the start, it was one-way traffic for the Italian. Paolini won 16 of the first 21 points, breaking Andreescu twice on her way to a 4-0 lead with the Canadian committing unforced errors on both break points.  

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Andreescu briefly managed to right the ship, firing a flurry of winners to reclaim one of the breaks. But a game later she got bogged down in a seven-minute service game which ended with a pair of Paolini winners. The Italian served out the opening set after just 27 minutes. 

A double fault in her second service game had Andreescu facing another early break deficit, but she managed to pull out an ace to survive. At 3-3, she had to dig deep facing four break points, but managed to hit her way out the jam. 

When the door opened for her on return, she took advantage. In the very next game, Andreescu had a look at love-40 and on the second break point, it was her defence getting the job done as she somehow dug out a wild rally to take a 5-3 lead. The Canadian promptly served out the second set. 

Paolini immediately stamped out any momentum the former US Open champion might have been building. The third set more closely resembled the first, with the Italian in total control, creating some errors to break for a 2-0 lead. 

The deciding set was never close. Andreescu only managed to win nine points as Paolini swept her aside in just 22 minutes. 

With her loss, no Canadian women remain in the singles draw in Paris. Leylah Annie Fernandez is still in the doubles draw with Erin Routliffe.