ATP Rome: Alexei Popyrin Upsets Felix Auger-Aliassime in Grueling Encounter

Alexei Popyrin served Felix Auger-Aliassime's early loss at Foro Italico

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Rome: Alexei Popyrin Upsets Felix Auger-Aliassime in Grueling Encounter

Felix Auger-Aliassime is yet to find his A-game in 2023! World no. 10 experienced another early loss in Rome, falling to Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 after three hours and 17 minutes of a grueling battle. The Canadian struggled at Foro Italico, as many times this season, making no improvements after an early Madrid loss and heading to Roland Garros with no wins and confidence.

Alexei defeated Felix at the start of the year in Adelaide and repeated that in the Italian capital with a late break in the decider. The Aussie suffered only two breaks from four chances offered to his rival and pushed the Canadian to the limits on the return.

Auger-Aliassime hit nine double faults and played against 16 break chances. He defended a massive 13, but three breaks were enough for Alexei to emerge at the top and advance into the third round. Popyrin hit 33 winners and unforced errors and used 42 unforced mistakes from his opponent to prevail.

Alexei Popyrin ousted Felix Auger-Aliassime after a great battle in Rome.

The Aussie had 33 service winners and forged the crucial advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes. They traded breaks in the encounter's opening games, and Alexei saved two break points in the extended fourth game to bring it home after over ten minutes.

They served well in the next four games and locked the result at 4-4 after 50 minutes. Felix's serve let him down in the ninth game, with Alexei pushing strong and creating six break chances. The Aussie converted the last after the rival's loose backhand to grab a decisive break and move 5-4 in front.

Popyrin served for the opener in game ten and landed a service winner to clinch it 6-4 and gain a boost. The Canadian defended two break chances in the second set's fifth game to extend the battle. The Aussie produced four comfortable holds since the start of the set and wished for more at 4-5.

He squandered a game point, and Felix converted a set point with a forehand winner to steal the set 6-4 and force a decider after two hours and 16 minutes! Auger-Aliassime faced three break points at 1-1 in the final set and denied them with two winners and a forced error.

Both players served well in the next seven games, staying neck and neck and introducing more drama at 5-5. Alexei stepped in on the return and placed a lovely backhand down the line winner after a mighty defense to grab a decisive break and serve for the victory.

The Aussie created two match points after the rival's loose forehand and landed a volley winner at the net on the first to emerge at the top and advance into the last 32.

Atp Rome Alexei Popyrin Felix Auger-aliassime