Photo : @WeAreTennis
Daniil Medvedev continues to be a riddle that Félix Auger-Aliassime cannot solve.
The Canadian’s first title defence came to an end in the quarter-finals of the Rotterdam Open on Friday as he fell to 0-5 in his career against the former world No. 1 with a straight-set loss.
Stylistically, Medvedev has always been a difficult match-up for Auger-Aliassime and that was no different in the quarter-final clash. As rallies were extended, the Canadian struggled to find a way to end points as Medvedev’s brilliant defence took the day 6-2, 6-4.
Medvedev was rock solid in the rallies, committing a mere five unforced errors while coaxing 20 out of the Canadian. He also feasted on Auger-Aliassime’s second serve, winning 67 per cent of those points. The defending champion did himself few favours by putting just 50 per cent of his first serves in play.
Keeping points short was always going to be key for the Auger-Aliassime and he got off to a strong start, opening the match with four big serves for a love hold. However, as soon as the rallies got beyond a couple of shots, the advantage began to shift to Medvedev.
The sixth seed had his first break point of the match in the third game but missed a return. A good serve initially bailed Auger-Aliassime out again in the fifth game but he missed a forehand on the third break point to surrender to fall behind.
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Back-to-back errors from the Canadian gave Medvedev a second break and a 5-2 lead. While Auger-Aliassime was struggling to impose himself on serve, the sixth seed was cruising, winning his first nine first serve points and only dropping two points in his first three service games. Serving for the set was the first challenge he faced, but Medvedev saved a pair of break points as he closed out it out.
It was a similar start in the second set, with Auger-Aliassime errors giving away the break in the third game. However, this time Medvedev handed the break right back, driving a backhand into the net to surrender serve for the first time in the match. It was just his third unforced error of the day at that stage.
Any hope of a comeback for the Canadian was short-lived. At 3-3, a pair of forehand misses gave the break back to Medvedev and this time the former world No. 1 did not let up.
Rather than aiming for a third final in Marseille, Auger-Aliassime is expected to play at the ATP 500 event in Dubai next week. He will need to reach the semifinals to make up for his points from Marseille, where he reached the final last year.