Rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime handed a straight-set defeat to his close friend Denis Shapovalov to make his maiden round-of-16 at the Australian Open. Auger-Aliassime, who finished runner-up at last week's Murray River Open, defeated No.
11 seed Shapovalov 7-5 7-5 6-3 in their third round clash at Melbourne Park. Shapovalov claimed the first break of the match in the seventh game but Auger-Aliassime broke back in the eighth game, before claiming the key break in the 12th game to win the opener.
After falling down by a break in the second set, Auger-Aliassime again claimed two breaks to recover from the deficit and steal the set. Shapovalov's game then fell apart as Auger-Aliassime got off to a kick 3-0 third-set lead and then held on to his serve to wrap up a straight-set win.
“It was a good match on my part. It is never easy to play Denis. We played for the first time when we were nine, so we go back a long time,” Auger-Aliassime said in an on-court interview, per the ATP website. “He has beaten me pretty badly a couple of times and tonight, it went my way.
I was flawless and I played an amazing match. It is a shame that we had to play each other… I can just be happy about my performance tonight”.
Auger-Aliassime making progress at Melbourne Park
Auger-Aliassime failed to make it past the Australian Open qualifying in 2019, before losing in the first round at Melbourne Park last year.
“It is amazing [to be in the fourth round], especially here. I didn’t have so much luck [in the] past years, but I always loved this place,” said Auger-Aliassime. “Finally, this year I am playing some good tennis… It is a pleasure”.
Auger-Aliassime plays next against Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev. “I know [Karatsev] a little bit. He has come through qualifying and he has beat some good players,” said Auger-Aliassime. “He is a tough opponent, so I am going to try to relax now and get ready to play my best tennis again in two days”.