Felix Auger-Aliassime reflects on tight Rome Masters opener

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Felix Auger-Aliassime reflects on tight Rome Masters opener

Rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime felt happy after surviving a tough opener at the Rome Masters. Auger-Aliassime, ranked at No. 20 in the world, beat world No. 36 Filip Krajinovic in three sets 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-4 to reach the Rome Masters second round.

Auger-Aliassime lost his openers at the Rome Masters in 2019 and 2020 so his victory over Krajinovic was his first win in Rome. "I'm really happy," said Auger-Aliassime. "[It was] a tough match. I'm happy I was able to win today.

You've got to believe and be resilient at times. I wanted to win badly, so I dug deep and I found a way."

Auger-Aliassime prevented a big Krajinovic comeback

Krajinovic made a perfect start to the match as he took an early 2-0 lead.

But his lead was short-lived as Auger-Aliassime responded with two quick breaks to overturn the deficit and win the opener. Auger-Aliassime then started the second set with a break but failed to serve out for the match in the 10th game.

Krajinovic then saved three consecutive break points in the following game to force a tie-break, in which he converted his first set point to force a decider. Krajinovic twice recovered from a break down in the third set but he lost his serve in the 10th game of the decider as Auger-Aliassime won.

At the Madrid Masters, Auger-Aliassime was beaten by Casper Ruud in the first round. "I am very happy with the way I played," Ruud said after beating Auger-Aliassime. "I will take all the Masters 1000 wins I can get.

I played solid and steady today. Madrid is a little bit different to other clay-court events because of the high bounces and altitude. I hit with good length and I served unbelievably well today. I have been working a lot on my serve recently, so it's nice to see it's coming together a little bit.

I hope I can keep my level high." Auger-Aliassime plays next No. 8 seed Diego Schwartzman.