Photo : Camera Work USA
Félix Auger-Aliassime’s first Grand Slam final will have to wait as he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 2021 US Open in straight sets on Friday by second seed Daniil Medvedev.
The 21-year-old was competing in his first major semi-final, the second Slam in a row where he had a career-best performance, but ultimately had no answer for the world number two’s consistency as he was out-grinded 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
The semi-final clash was full of long, hard-hitting rallies pitting Medvedev’s defence against the Montrealer’s attack and for the most part, it was the Russian getting the better of the long exchanges.
Auger-Aliassime had a chance to take the second set, having set points on his racquet at 5-3, but from set point up lost 15 of the next 17 points to go down two sets and from there it was one-way traffic for the Russian.
Consistency was the key as Medvedev struck more winners and committed fewer errors than the young Canadian, who had more than double the number of errors (39) to winners (17). Auger-Aliassime did himself no favours by hitting 10 double faults and did not save any of the five break points he faced in the match.
Right from the start, Medvedev was at his defensive best, sending every ball back at Auger-Aliassime and forcing the Canadian to do more with his shots.
In the seventh game, Auger-Aliassime cracked under the pressure, missing a series of forehands to surrender the break. Medvedev just needed the one to take the opening set.
It looked the tide was turning in favour of the Canadian when Medvedev dropped his level midway through the second set, blowing a 40-15 lead and double-faulting on break point to give Auger-Aliassime a 4-2 lead.
But it did not last, as the Russian quickly regained control, winning five games in a row, saving two set points as Auger-Aliassime served for the set at 5-3, taking a two-set lead. Medvedev won the last 12 points of the second set.
From there, it was all Medvedev. The Russian went on another run, winning five more games in a row, including two breaks, to take a 5-1 lead before ultimately serving it out to reach his second US Open final in three years.
Auger-Aliassime had his best performance at three of the four majors this season, reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and quarter-finals of Wimbledon before reaching the last four at the US Open.