FLORIDA – MARCH 27: during the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Hard Rock Stadium March 27
Félix Auger-Aliassime makes history… again.
After becoming the youngest Miami Open quarter-finalist since Andy Roddick in 2001, Auger-Aliassime makes it one better. He’s officially the youngest semi-finalist ever following a 7-6(3), 6-2 win over No. 11 seed Borna Coric on Wednesday night.
HE DOES IT!
Félix Auger-Aliassime defeats Borna Coric 7-6(3), 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the #MiamiOpen. Unbelievable level from the 18-year-old in the biggest match of his career.
Take a bow, @felixtennis. #FélixRising pic.twitter.com/P9w8JDnWKI
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) March 28, 2019
The 18-year-old Canadian has electrified crowds all week with his all-court brand of power tennis, and he didn’t disappoint in front of his biggest crowd yet: primetime on the Miami Open’s massive Stadium court. Auger-Aliassime and Coric held firm on their serves throughout the first set – with the exception of a mid-set exchange of breaks – as the teenager found himself in the drivers seat against a more defensively oriented Coric, a former teen prodigy himself.
Dazzling with forehands taken on the rise and returning with baseline-clipping accuracy, Auger-Aliassime would have his first set point in a lengthy 10th game on the Coric serve, which was quelled by a well-place serve to the Canadian’s backhand. 20 minutes later, however, Auger-Aliassime earned himself three more after a dominant tiebreak and he wouldn’t hesitate this time.
One Coric backhand wide off a sizzling Auger-Aliassime return, and the 18-year-old earned a one-set lead – his third first-set tiebreak won in a row after doing so in his third and fourth-round encounters as well.
Is he really 18⁉️
Special stuff from @felixtennis 🔥#MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/UwVZW4OEZc
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 28, 2019
Destiny seemed tipped in Auger-Aliassime’s favour after the tiebreak, as he raced off to an early 4-0 lead. Match points would come and go in the seventh game of the second set on Coric’s serve, but the Canadian simply wasn’t going to be denied. He served out the match masterfully, punctuating the victory – perhaps fittingly – with one final inside-out forehand that his Croatian opponent couldn’t handle.
The victory is Auger-Aliassime’s seventh in a row at the Hard Rock Stadium and is, by far, his best Masters 1000 result to date. His previous best was earlier this month: a third round finish at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. In addition to becoming the youngest semi-finalist ever in Miami, he’s the youngest to reach a Masters 1000 semifinal since none other than fellow-Canadian Denis Shapovalov in Montreal two years ago. The result also ensures that he’ll be ranked no worse than 33rd in the world after the ATP Rankings are released next week.
Auger-Aliassime’s toughest test awaits him in the semi-finals. Defending champion John Isner not only has one of the best serves the sport has ever seen but is also on a 10-match win streak in Miami, having not dropped a set (seven of eight went to a tiebreak) en route to the semis. Interestingly, Auger-Aliassime has won all three of his tiebreak sets in Miami as well.
With a spot in the final on the line — something’s gotta give when the two face off for the first time on Friday. Can Félix’s dream run continue?
(Feature photo: Mauricio Paiz)