Felix Auger-Aliassime came to Melbourne with four straight losses at Majors. The young Canadian was ready to give everything on the court in the Australian Open first round to change that, prevailing over Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-5, 6-7, 5-7, 6-3 after four hours and 59 minutes.
Auger-Aliassime felt massive relief after winning the decider, admitting he did not want to embrace another failure, backing himself to fight until the end and leave the court with no regrets. The Canadian squandered a 5-2 lead in the tie break of the third set, allowing the Austrian to prolong the battle and embrace a marathon.
However, Auger-Aliassime started all over in the decider and sealed the deal for his first Major win in a year. Felix had a better run behind the first and second serve, taming his strokes nicely and prevailing in the pivotal moments.
Thiem navigated through challenging sets three and four for over two hours, forcing a decider before losing ground. Auger-Aliassime dropped serve three times and delivered five breaks that carried him over the top. Felix overpowered Dominic in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, securing the victory in that segment.
The first break of serve came in the opener's eighth game. Thiem sprayed a backhand error to drop serve and fall 5-3 behind.
Auger-Aliassime served for the opener in game nine and clinched it with an ace, forging the advantage after 45 minutes.
Dominic sprayed another backhand error in the third game of the second set, falling a set and a break down. Felix could not cement the lead, hitting a double fault and bringing his rival back to 2-2. The Canadian saved a break point in game six, and they reached 5-5 with reliable serving.
Thiem suffered a setback in the 11th game, blowing a 40-0 lead and losing serve after a forehand mistake. Auger-Aliassime served for the set at 6-5 and landed a service winner to forge two sets to love lead in just under two hours.
The Canadian created a break chance at 4-4 in the third set, hoping to move in front and serve for the victory. Instead, he squandered it and kept his rival in contention. The set went into a tie break, and Felix rushed into a 5-2 lead with a service winner.
Auger-Aliassime hit a double fault at 5-4 and sprayed a massive forehand error to offer his opponent a set point.
Felix Auger-Aliassime notched an important win over Dominic Thiem in Melbourne.
Thiem closed the set with a volley winner, rattling off five points and extending the battle after over three hours.
Dominic grabbed a boost, breaking early in the fourth set and delivering four comfortable holds for a 5-3 advantage. Felix reduced the deficit with a hold in game nine and pulled the break back in the last moment after Dominic's smash error in the next one, locking the result at 5-5 and adding more drama.
The Austrian left that setback behind and grabbed another break in game 11 after the Canadian's wayward forehand. Thiem wrapped up the set with a booming serve at 6-5, forcing a decider after four hours and 14 minutes and hoping for a complete comeback.
It looked more realistic after Auger-Aliassime's double fault in the decider's first game. Felix played against two break points and defended them with good serves. The younger player fired a forehand down the line winner and brought the game home with a service winner for a massive boost of confidence.
Auger-Aliassime attacked in the second game and grabbed a break after Thiem's loose forehand, moving 2-0 up and gaining momentum.
The Canadian ensured the third game with a forehand winner, moving 3-0 in front and settling into a fine rhythm. Dominic brought the fourth game home with a drop shot winner, trying everything to stay competitive. However, Felix blasted an ace down the T line in the fifth game, holding in style and moving 4-1 in front.
Thiem served well in the sixth game and cracked a beautiful backhand down the line winner to reduce the deficit. The Canadian notched the seventh game after the rival's costly backhand error, forging a 5-2 gap and moving closer to the finish line.
Dominic served to stay in the match in game eight and brought it home with a volley winner, extending the battle after nearly five hours on the clock. Thiem netted a routine forehand at 15-30 in the ninth game, allowing Auger-Aliassime to create two match points.
Felix seized the first with a forehand down the line winner, celebrating a much-needed victory after struggling to bring his A-game at Majors in 2023. "It's a huge relief. We both played well, turning it into a struggle. I did not want to fail mentally and disappoint myself with the lack of effort.
I did not want any regrets while leaving the court, so I left everything there. The third set frustrated me, but I stayed strong; it made me happy. I left the court after the third set and regrouped," Felix Auger-Aliassime said.