photo : martin sidorjak
Maxime Cressy defeats Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7(5) 6-4 7-6(9) 7-6(5) in four hours and ten minutes.
Coming into the match, Auger-Aliassime had won his last five first round matches at majors. In addition, he had a 6-2 record at Wimbledon, reaching at least the third round and quarterfinals in his two previous appearances at the grass court major. Meanwhile Cressy was making his first main draw appearance at Wimbledon.
Neither player had trouble on serve through the first six games. At 3-3, Cressy had the first opening at 0-30 on Auger-Aliassime’s serve. That advantage was quickly erased with three big first serves from the sixth seed.
Cressy is known to employ the serve and volley tactic, especially on the grass. Auger-Aliassime struggled early on but started to problem solve in the 11th game. Solid returns led to difficult volleys from Cressy, which allowed Auger-Aliassime to hit some beautiful passing shots. A backhand down-the-line pass brought up the first and only break point of the set. However, the six-foot-six American continued to move forward while the Canadian was unable to consistently come up with the pass.
The set would be decided by a tiebreak. Auger-Aliassime struggled in tiebreaks in the Wimbledon tune-ups having lost his last two against Hurkacz in Halle. This time he made no mistake, playing solid tennis while Cressy hit a double fault and a few forehand errors. On his second set point, Auger-Aliassime sealed it 7-5 with yet another pass that Cressy barely got a racket on.
In the 3rd game, Cressy earned his first break point courtesy of an incorrect challenge. Auger-Aliassime believed a ball to be long and stopped the point, but the review showed it caught the line. After saving a break point with an ace, he donated the break with a double fault and forehand error.
The one break is all Cressy needed to take the set 6-4 and even the match at one set all.
Once again it was 3rd game opportunity for Cressy. On break point, fans held their breath as a return hit the tape and trickled back onto the American’s side. Then back-to-back cross-court passes propelled Auger-Aliassime through a difficult service game.
Several service games were stretched to deuce, however, the server continued to find a way to pull through and send the set to another tiebreak. The opening point Auger-Aliassime sent a forehand long to give up the mini-break. On his next service point, he buried a forehand into the net to go down 0-4.
A double fault from Cressy gave some life making it 4-2 at the changeover. The backhand pass continued to be the saving grace for Auger-Aliassime. Two backhand passes evened the tiebreak at 5-5. Each had two set points on the return and failed to convert. Down 10-9, Auger-Aliassime blinked first hitting his fifth double fault of the match to lose a grueling set in 76 minutes.
45 service games and just the one break for Cressy early in the second set. On match point at 6-5 for the world number 45, he blasted a return just wide. Auger-Aliassime held and another tiebreak would either conclude the match or send it to a fifth.
No edge for either player tied at 3-3 into the change of ends. The next point Cressy ripped a forehand return winner to go up a mini-break 4-3. Auger-Aliassime returned the favor with a dipping return at Cressy’s feet to get back on serve 4-4.
At 5-5 the forehand let Auger-Aliassime down again. He hit an error long to bring up a match point on Cressy’s serve. A serve out wide and forehand volley sealed the match. Cressy came to net 133 times, winning 94 of those points (71%).
A massive upset as Auger-Aliassime is the highest seeded player to exit so far.