Canadian tennis fans were hoping sixth time would be the charm for Félix Auger-Aliassime as he took to the court in Cologne for a chance to win his first ATP final. But the Montrealer couldn’t put the cherry on top of a fabulous week in Germany, losing 6-3, 6-3 to top seed and home favourite Alexander Zverev.
The two players had met just twice before in their careers, the German coming out on top in both. The first was an early-round match at the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters, while the second was a round of 16 meeting on the hardcourts of Beijing, also last year.
Zverev, a US Open finalist just a matter of weeks ago, headed into Sunday’s final having beaten Fernando Verdasco, Lloyd Harris and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the previous rounds. Meanwhile, Auger-Aliassime had played some terrific tennis to overcome Henri Laaksonen, Radu Albot and second seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
In the championship match itself, the Canadian’s first serve winner percentage of 50% to Zverev’s 77% in the first set really hurt him. Auger-Aliassime was showing his ability to hit a variety of shots well but just couldn’t overcome the German, who is ranked No. 7 on the ATP Tour. The set would end 6-3 in Zverev’s favour.
Auger-Aliassime was producing some solid tennis at the start of the second set. The 20-year-old fought off a break point for Zverev in the fourth game but couldn’t repeat the feat in the sixth as the German took a 4-2 lead. He would make no mistake in serving out the match as Auger-Aliassime’s fate was sealed. However, it doesn’t take away from what has been a terrific week for him in Germany.