Felix Auger-Aliassime winds up to slice a backhand. He lost to Andrey Rublev in the Madrid final.

Photo : Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Alex de Minaur continued his great 2024, overcoming Félix Auger-Aliassime 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the round of 16 at the Italian Open in Rome.

In an athletic and high-level affair, the world number 11 from Australia needed exactly three hours to fight past the determined Canadian.

It was Auger-Aliassime who started the match quickly, breaking the Australian’s serve in the opening game, and dictating play with his punishing first serve and baseline game.

De Minaur responded with a break back in the sixth game, as the Canadian double faulted to level the score at 3-3.

The set stayed level until 6-all, before the Auger-Aliassime gained the upper hand in the tiebreak.

The 23-year-old seized the early scoreboard advantage, pushing ahead 4-1 off of a de Minaur double fault. He’d win the final three points to take the first set 7-6(2) in 68 minutes.

The match was again tightly contested in the second. Auger-Aliassime saved the first break point of the set at 3-all, hitting two winners and firing an ace to hold for 4-3.

Read more: Auger-Aliassime outduels Van de Zandschulp in Rome Opener

The Australian applied pressure on return at 4-all, capitalizing on a double fault and unforced error from his opponent to grab the only break of the set. He would fend off one final challenge from the Canadian before holding to win the second 6-4 in 58 minutes.

The run of inspired tennis continued from the Aussie in the third set.

He continued to generate chances in his return games, eventually capitalizing on a third break point in the third game to take a 2-1 lead.

Meanwhile, under duress, Auger-Aliassime fended off two more break point looks for the Australian at 3-1, escaping for a key hold of serve.

It was a key momentum shift for the Canadian, who won eight consecutive points on the trot, to move ahead 4-3.

However, the Australian kept his composure to hold serve, and Auger-Aliassime’s service struggles reared their head in the ninth game.

The Canadian hit two of his 13 double faults in the match to gift a break back to the Australian.

De Minaur closed the match with an unreturned serve, securing his 25th tour match win of the season.

See also: Junior Update

The 25-year-old has now reached the round of 16 or better at four of five Masters 1000 events this season.

Auger-Aliassime drops to 17-12 on his 2024 campaign. The Canadian finished with 29 winners through the match, and 38 unforced errors.

He’ll now set his sights on Roland Garros, which begins next week.