Photo : MercedesCup

The 2021 grass-court season is underway!

Canada’s Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov are competing at this year’s MercedesCup in Stuttgart, Germany. Both young Canadians are looking to get things rolling on the grass surface ahead of Wimbledon.

First up, the Montreal native at Centre Court.

As the tournament No. 3 seed, Auger-Aliassime earned a first-round bye and defeated Lloyd Harris of South Africa 6-3, 7-6(4) this morning in the round of 16.

After an uneventful first three games, Auger-Aliassime managed to break his opponent first to take an early 3-1 lead.

In the back-and-forth eighth game, the Canadian had two chances to wrap up the first set. However, a tenacious Harris held his serve on his third game point opportunity.

The following game was just as entertaining. The South African had three chances to break the Canadian to extend the set. However, Auger-Aliassime fought off the three break point opportunities and closed out the set on a powerful ace – his fourth of the match.

In the second set, Auger-Aliassime got off to another impressive start holding his first two service games and breaking the World No. 54 early.

It looked as if the clash was just about over in the 10th game when Auger-Aliassime, up 40-15, was serving for the match.

But, the South African never took his foot off the gas. He saved two match points, converted on his break point opportunity, and tied the set at five games apiece.

The next two games were won by the servers and sent the second set to a tiebreak.

Despite Harris’ strong efforts, Auger-Aliassime won the tiebreak 7-4 and advances to his fourth quarter-final of the season.

Auger-Aliassime looked dominant and comfortable on the grass in today’s contest. Although the sample size is small, after today’s victory, his career record on the surface is an outstanding 9-3.

Auger-Aliassime reached the MercedesCup final back in 2019 and looks eager to do it again. His next match is against No. 6 seed Ugo Humbert of France on Friday.