Photo: Martin Sidorjak
It has been quite the tournament for the seeded players at this year’s Mutua Madrid Open, as seven of the top eight seeds clinched a spot in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Today, Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Carlos Alcaraz won their quarter-final contests, and the last spot in the semi-finals belonged to the winner of the match between Félix Auger-Aliassime (No. 8 seed) and defending champion Alexander Zverev.
Heading into today’s contest, Auger-Aliassime trailed their head-to-head 4-2 but won two of the last three matches against the German. Auger-Aliassime was seeking a 10th win versus a Top 10 opponent, while Zverev looked to clinch No. 40.
Unfortunately, the Canadian will have to wait a little longer before reaching the double-digit milestone, as he was ousted by the defending champion in straight sets 6-3, 7-5. Auger-Aliassime had an outstanding start to the tournament in the Spanish capital, only dropping six games in his first two matches played. Today, he struggled to find his peak form.
Right out the gate, the court was tilted in favour of Zverev. The world No. 3 cruised through his service games and broke Auger-Aliassime’s serve in the third and ninth games, claiming the opening frame in just over 30 minutes.
Zverev kept that momentum going into the second set and earned the early break advantage to go up 2-0. Auger-Aliassime did get two opportunities to break Zverev in the third game but wasn’t able to convert.
Midway through the second set, Auger-Aliassime started to increase his level of play and won three straight games to tie things up at four games apiece. His hot streak began with a ridiculous point to hold serve in the sixth game.
Zverev was able to flip the switch at the end of the set, and eventually clinched the match on his third match point opportunity.
Auger-Aliassime will hope to bounce back in a few days at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where he enters the tournament as the eighth seed and will get another first-round bye. In the second round, he will face the winner of the match between Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Ilya Ivashka.