Photo: camerawork usa
Since reaching the semi-finals of the US Open back in September, Félix Auger-Aliassime has only played three singles matches and is 1-2 in those contests. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie – his opponent in today’s second-round clash at the Erste Bank Open – rocks an 11-1 record since his first-round exit at the US Open and is playing the most dominant tennis of his career.
Both Norrie and Auger-Aliassime had solid first-round matches in Vienna – the Brit defeated Marton Fucsovics 7-6(4), 6-1 while the Auger-Aliassime cruised past Ricarda Berankis 6-3, 6-2. The latter was able to start a win streak of his own, as he ousted the red-hot Norrie 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in their second-round thriller.
With today’s victory, Auger-Aliassime adds 45 points to his 2021 ATP points and keeps his Nitto ATP Finals hopes alive.
Norrie came out strong to start today’s second-round match, winning the first eight points and earning the early break advantage. Norrie had the Canadian’s number throughout the first set. Despite only keeping 56 per cent of his first serves in play, Norrie won 100 per cent of his service points – a remarkable feat.
Auger-Aliassime managed to raise his level of play in the second set. He was much more dominant in the service department and was finally able to win some points on Norrie’s serve. Up 4-3 in the eighth game, the Canadian earned himself a first look at break, but the tenacious Norrie managed to fend it off. There were no other break point opportunities in the set and the much more competitive second set needed a tiebreak.
Norrie, up 6-3 in the tiebreak, had three chances to clinch the match however, Auger-Aliassime kept his foot on the gas and delivered three clutch shots to level the tiebreak. The Canadian then won the next two points to claim the second set.
The court started to tilt in favour of Auger-Aliassime in the third set. After having only one break chance in the opening two sets, Auger-Aliassime had three in the first game of the third set. He didn’t capitalize on his opportunities in the first game but delivered the goods in the fifth to take the break advantage in the decider. It was the only break of serve in the set and Auger-Aliassime would go on to win it by a score of 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime will face the winner of Alex de Minaur and Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals.
Denis continues to shine in doubles
After losing to Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev in Indian Wells two weeks ago, Denis Shapovalov and partner Rohan Bopanna got instant revenge over half of the duo, Rublev, winning their quarter-final match 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 at the St. Petersburg Open. Rublev was paired up with another fellow Russian, Karen Khachanov.
It was an evenly fought match, both teams winning 11 games each. The Canadian-Indian pair kept 59 per cent of first serves in play and won 65 per cent of those points – something they will look at improving in their next match. They will play the winner of Andres Molteni/Hugo Nys and Santiago Gonzalez/Andrey Golubev’s match.
Meanwhile, Auger-Aliassime and teammate Andreas Mies were on court in Vienna for their quarter-final match against second-seeds Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. Despite the solid effort from the Canadian and Mies, their hopes at a doubles title at the Erste Bank Open came to an end as they were ousted by a score of 6-3, 6-7(7), 10-6.