Struff pumps fist after winning point at BMW Open

Photo: BMW Open

Amidst cool, rainy, and blustery conditions in Munich, Jan-Lennard Struff used a strong serving performance to defeat Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals of the BMW Open.

In a match suspended a day by the weather, the 33-year-old native of Germany was the more consistent of the two players, better navigating the challenging elements to come through with a straight sets victory.

Feeling the support from his home crowd in Munich, Struff made the first move of the match early in the opening set, striking a clean forehand return winner to break for a 3-1 lead. While the Canadian was struggling to find rhythm from the baseline, he did find a brief run of momentum, reeling off three consecutive games to grab a 5-4 lead.

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However, it was the veteran who held his composure in the late stages, breaking Auger-Aliassime to love at 5-all before closing out the opener on his serve in 52 minutes.

A tepid start to the second set left the Montreal native fighting the scoreboard again; he hit a pair of ill-timed unforced errors to give his opponent the opening break.

At 7-5, 3-1, play was suspended for the night due to the rainy weather and poor visibility. The disruption in play did little to change the complexion of the match.

Resuming the match in the morning, Struff continued his firm hold of the scoreboard, controlling play with his potent serve and heavy groundstrokes. The veteran posted an impressive 78% first serve percentage, and surrendered just six return points through the entirety of the set.

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One final punishing forehand groundstroke, that sent the Canadian off balance, sealed the victory in 1 hour, 43 minutes. With the win, Struff advances to his first ATP semi-final of the season, where he is set to face world no. 12 Holger Rune of Denmark. He has also levelled his career head-to-head with the Canadian at two match wins apiece.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the loss, Auger-Aliassime’s season record now sits at 11-10. The 23-year-old will look to bounce back next week at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he reached the quarterfinals in 2022.