No. 5 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime scraped past Egor Gerasimov in the round-of-16 at Cologne 2 and then underlined that tennis can be a cruel sport. World No. 22 Auger-Aliassime edged out 87th-ranked Gerasimov 4-6 7-6 (2) 7-6 (4) to reach the quarterfinal at Cologne 2.
Auger-Aliassime was on the brink of losing the match but Gerasimov failed to serve out for the match in the 12th game of the second set. "Tonight showed how cruel tennis can be sometimes," Auger-Aliassime said after the match, per the ATP website.
"He had his chances serving for the match in the second set. I felt like he was playing a great level of tennis. And then I tried to stick in there, stay calm and try different things, adapt. In the end I got a bit nervous serving up three match points, but those are things that happen and I'm for sure really happy I came back in the last game to save it."
While serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set, Auger-Aliassime had 40-0 before dropping five points in a row and failing to serve out for the match. But the Canadian kept his focus and got the job done in the third set tie-break.
"That was tough mentally, to be honest. I didn't see that one coming. I was serving well the whole game," Auger-Aliassime said. "Then [I hit that] double fault and he played good points and after you get a bit nervous, I think that's normal.
At the end you try your best, you try to stay in the match, which I did mentally."
Auger-Aliassime proud of his effort
Auger-Aliassime, who ended runner-up to Alexander Zverev in last week's Cologne final, was proud of his effort against Gerasimov.
"I think I can be proud of my effort, because it's not easy whenever you face a situation like this to come back and win the match in the end," Auger-Aliassime said. "This brings me a lot of confidence and I'm for sure happy I got through."
Meanwhile, rising Italian star Jannik Sinner saw off Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3 6-1 to set up a Cologne quarterfinal against Gilles Simon. “In the beginning, it was tough for both [of us], trying to understand how each other plays.
[There were] a lot of breaks of serve,” Sinner said after beating Herbert. “[I was] trying to find the key on how to serve, especially on the break points, at 30-all… I think it was a quite solid performance today”.