Canada's Auger-Aliassime bests world No. 1 Alcaraz to advance to Swiss Indoors final

BASEL, Switzerland — Felix Auger-Aliassime is playing some of the best tennis of his career and recent opponents have had no answer for him.

The Montreal native defeated world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2 to book his ticket to the Swiss Indoors final on Saturday.

He will next play Holger Rune in Sunday's final with eyes on his third consecutive ATP Tour title. Auger-Aliassime entered the tournament having won the Firenze Open and European Open in back-to-back weeks.

“It’s amazing," Auger-Aliassime said after the match. "I never expected it, when I was in Florence three weeks ago, or after the U.S. Open. I’m just really happy that all my work is coming together.

“I’ve always believed that I can play this way, that I can be consistent in that way, but one thing is to believe and the other is to actually do it. It’s nice to feel that way, it’s nice to come out on the court and win that many matches in a row … So hopefully this is just the beginning of seeing me play this way.”

It is the second time the Montreal native has beaten Alcaraz since he became the top-ranked player on the ATP circuit. Auger-Aliassime got the best of the 19-year-old Spaniard in a singles match at the Davis Cup on Sept. 16 while competing for Canada.

The Canadian is now 3-0 in career matchups against Alcaraz.

Auger-Aliassime, who hasn't lost a match since Oct. 3 at the Astana Open, has only dropped one set in four matches so far in the tournament and has yet to have a break point converted against him.

“So far it has been very close to perfect (in Basel)”, said Auger-Aliassime in his on-court interview. "I’ve been serving amazing, not getting broken once yet. There’s still one match to go, but it’s been a fantastic week, (I have) played some great tennis, and again today against the best player in the world. It’s an amazing win, so I’m really happy with my level and hopefully I can go all the way.”

The 22-year-old fired nine aces without committing a double fault in the match. He also won 82 per cent of his first-serve points while breaking on three of his eight opportunities in the one hour, 21-minute match.

Alcaraz finished with zero aces and three double faults and could not convert on his lone break point chance. He won 62 per cent of his first-serve points.

The match started out as a back and forth affair as Alcaraz matched Auger-Aliassime for every game he won. Once tied at 3-3, Auger-Aliassime won three consecutive games to take the set. He hit six of his nine aces in the set.

In the second, Auger-Aliassime jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Alcaraz cut the deficit in the fifth game. Auger-Aliassime later broke in the seventh game to make it 5-2 before saving Alcaraz's only break point chance to win the set and the match.

“Showing up and taking care of my serve, game after game," Auger-Aliassime said after the match. "I think it was kind of a nervous start for both of us, but I think I was able to put a lot of pressure on [with my] second-serve return, and I think he felt that.

“From that point I was able to get a lot of opportunities. (In the second set) I got a few free points and was able to really use them well. In (World) No. 1 fashion, he came back with some great points, had a break point (in the final game) to come back a little bit. It was 0/30 on my serve, so those are good games to win.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2022.

The Canadian Press