Photo: Martin Sidorjak
It was a mixed bag of results for Canada on Friday at the Australian Open. On one hand, Félix Auger-Aliassime advanced to the fourth round in Melbourne for the second straight year and on the other, Denis Shapovalov lost a five-set thriller under the lights to no. 10 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland after battling back from two sets to love down.
Auger-Aliassime was a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victor over Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina, seeded no. 28 in the men’s draw. While the Canadian dropped a set in a third consecutive match, he still dictated most of the points with his trademark power and precision. He briefly lost the rhythm on his serve in set two, but quickly regained the upper hand in the third frame and got back to business. He finished the match with 38 winners. won 85% of his first serve points and took 17 of the 21 points he played at net. This was the first meeting between Auger-Aliassime and Cerundolo, who made a surprise run to the semifinals at the Miami Masters event last year.
The 22-year-old, seeded sixth, will now face world no. 71 Jiri Lehecka in the Round of 16 after the Czech knocked out Brit Cameron Norrie in the third round.
Unfortunately, Shapovalov was unable to join his compatriot in week two at the Australian Open, but it wasn’t for lack of effort and fight. The 23-year-old seemed destined for a straight sets loss against a tough opponent in Hurkacz but raised his level in a big way, highlighted by his 72 winners over five sets, to make it a highly entertaining contest even though he ultimately came up short 7-6(3), 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3.
Dabrowski wins doubles opener
Meanwhile, in women’s doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski and her partner Giuliana Olmos began their Melbourne campaign with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Irina-Camelia Begu and Shelby Rogers. They will next face the Swiss team of Belinda Bencic and Jill Teichmann who beat Vancouver’s Rebecca Marino and Madison Brengle in the first round. Leylah Annie Fernandez and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were also defeated at the opening hurdle by Beatriz Haddad Maia and Shuai Zhang.