Photo: ABN AMRO WTT
This is a first coronation for the Canadian after eight unsuccessful attempts
After winning the ATP Cup with Denis Shapovalov, Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez a few weeks ago, Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, QC) won his first singles ATP title today. He defeated World no. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, an ATP 500 Series event in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In addition to breaking his eight-match losing streak in ATP finals, the Canadian also snapped a five-match losing skid against the Greek.
With this win, the 21-year-old Montrealer becomes the first Canadian player since Shapovalov (Stockholm 2019) to be crowned in singles on the ATP Tour. In addition to his win over Tsitsipas, his run to his maiden title included wins over Egor Gerasimov (3-6, 6-2, 6-2), renowned Brits Andy Murray (6-3, 6-4) and Cameron Norrie (7-5, 7-6 (4)), as well as World no. 7 Andrey Rublev (6-7 , 6-4, 6-2) of Russia. Ironically, this first trophy for Auger-Aliassime comes in Rotterdam, at the same tournament where he made his ATP main draw debut in 2018 as a wildcard.
“It’s been not the smoothest road since my first final three years ago,” said Auger-Aliassime in front of the crowd. “It’s been an amazing day for me to get this first title and especially here, [where] I’ve done my first ATP main draw a couple years ago so I guess it’s right that I get my first ATP titles here. Thank you for making it a special week that I will remember for the rest of my life. It’s the happiest day of my career and hopefully this is the first of many to come.”
Tsitsipas reached the final with wins over no. 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (Spain), no. 48 Ilya Ivashka (Belarus), no. 34 Alex de Minaur (Australia) and no. 137 Jiri Lehecka (Czech Republic). Despite an easier road to the final championship match than Auger-Aliassime, the winner of seven career ATP title put on an excellent show for the fans at the Rotterdam Ahoy and congratulated the Quebec native on his performance.
“I would like to congratulate Félix for this incredible achievement,” said Tsitsipas after the match. “The first [title] is the most special one, [for] you and your team, with all the efforts that you put in and all the sacrifices [you made] everything single day. I hope you keep winning those titles.”
Auger-Aliassime started the match with a lot of energy, breaking the Greek in the opening game. The Montrealer also excelled on serve, giving up only two points to his rival in the first set. In full control of the match, the Canadian continued to dominate in the second frame, winning four consecutive points to break Tsitsipas’ serve in the first game and firmly establish his lead. Like a locomotive, Auger-Alissiame continued to turn up the pressure by winning three straight games to take an insurmountable lead at 5-1. He finally put an end to his long drought in ATP finals a few minutes later by putting the final touches on a match that lasted one hour, 19 minutes and one in which he largely overwhelmed his opponent.
“It was the power of hard work, Félix’s consistency and patience that did the trick today. He was determined, calm and focused on being a better tennis player every day and today is obviously a welcome relief [for him] to win his first title,” said his coach Frédéric Fontang.
Auger-Aliassime is having a great start to the year. In addition to winning the ATP Cup, he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before being defeated by eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev in a riveting match 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 5-7, 4-6. The Canadian now also has 6 wins over Top 15 players this season and is currently the tour leader in match wins with twelve
With a first title now under his belt, he is expected to move up to no. 8, the highest ranking of his career.