No. 3 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime praised qualifier Carlos Taberner following their Barcelona Open clash, saying the Spaniard is a good clay court player. Auger-Aliassime, ranked at No. 9 in the world, got off to a fast start to the match but Taberner bounced back in the second set so he had to dig deep in order to beat the Spaniard.
However, Auger-Aliassime regained his focus after losing the second set as he claimed a 6-1 3-6 6-4 victory over Taberner to progress into the Barcelona quarterfinal. A day earlier, Taberner upset Sebastian Korda in the first round.
“He [Taberner] is a good clay-court player," said Auger-Aliassime in his on-court interview, per the ATP website. "He had a good win yesterday, I’m sure he was feeling confident. "On my part, I had a great start to the match.
It was unfortunate that I lost my rhythm a little bit in the second set, lost my serve too many times, but I credit him also for defending well, showing a great level for a clay-court player, so it was not easy to get over [the line] today, serving for the match, but eventually to be through, it’s a thrill”.
Auger-Aliassime didn't let Taberner clinch a comeback win
Auger-Aliassime failed to serve out for the match in the ninth game of the third set but broke Taberner in the 10th game when the Spaniard was serving to stay in the match.
“I don’t like to have outside excuses for my level," Auger-Aliassime said. "I was playing well. There wasn’t really any reason, we didn’t have a long stop. Maybe I should have been a little bit more patient with the balls getting heavy and the conditions being slower in that second set.
"But again, I thought he played well also. It’s fine. There’s tough matches, tough opponents always, so it’s OK to struggle sometimes”.