Photo : Ben Solomon
Félix Auger-Aliassime and Greek superstar Stefanos Tsitsipas met on Centre Court Friday night in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals in Cincinnati, Ohio. This was their third meeting of the year, all of which were quarter-final matches.
Unfortunately, Auger-Aliassime’s terrific run in Cincinnati came to an end, as he dropped his quarter-final match to the World No. 3, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. The Canadian’s record for the year is now a respectable 28-18. He hopes to keep this momentum going heading into the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year.
The very first game was daunting for the Greek, as he had trouble finding his rhythm and looked like he might go down a break early. But, three deuces later, and the tournament No. 2 seed managed to hold his opening service game.
Auger-Aliassime, who’s been dominating in the service department this week, struggled on first serves in the opening set. He won only 54 percent of points on first serves, including two double faults, which both happened in the eighth game to gift Tsitsipas the first set 6-2.
The second set was much better from the Canadian, as his serves started to take form and he raised his play. Both Auger-Aliassime and Tsitsipas cruised through their early service games until the Canadian had to fend off a break point opportunity in the sixth game.
Then, in the 10th game, absolute mayhem unfolded.
Tsitsipas, up 5-4, had two match point opportunities. The first was easily saved by Auger-Aliassime, but, the second rally seemed to last forever. On the brink of defeat, Auger-Aliassime placed a deep ball perfectly, which Tsitsipas returned in the net. He thought the ball was out, but the Hawkeye replay showed that it was in – by just a sliver.
Auger-Aliassime carried that momentum into the next game, where he broke Tsitsipas for the first time and eventually won the second set 7-5.
A third set was needed, but Tsitsipas raised his level of play substantially and Auger-Aliassime could not match the dynamic Greek. After two hours and eight minutes, Tsitsipas defeated Auger-Aliassime for the third time this year and will look to make his sixth final appearance in 2021.
Tsitsipas awaits the winner of Norway’s Casper Ruud and Germany’s gold medalist Alexander Zverev.
Gaby Dabrowski continues to shine
Make it three consecutive final appearances for Canadian Gaby Dabrowski and her partner Luisa Stefani of Brazil. Dabrowski and Stefani took down Czech duo Barbora Kerjcikova and Katerina Siniakova in their semi-final thriller 7-5, 3-6, 10-7.
The pair most recently won the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Montreal, just a couple of hours away from Dabrowski’s hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. That was the duo’s first title as a team and they hope to win another one, this time against Australia’s Samantha Stosur and China’s Shuai Zhang on Saturday.