Felix Auger-Aliassime produced a remarkable recovery to fend off Mikael Ymer and extend his winning streak to 14 matches on Wednesday at the Rolex Paris Masters.
After dropping the first set against the Swede, Auger-Aliassime faced two break points when trailing 1-4 in the second set as Ymer looked set to snap his opponent’s unbeaten run in style. Yet the Canadian dug deep to hold his serve before roaring back to complete a thrilling 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(6) triumph in three hours and 30 minutes at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
“Somehow I found a second wind after saving those break points at 4-1,” said Auger-Aliassime after the match. “I played better and better, coming through the court much better, serving better. It was pretty epic. Three hours and 30 minutes on the court, quality rallies. He was making me work all the time. Definitely a win to remember.”
A few hours after his comeback win, Auger-Aliassime was given another reason to celebrate in Paris when his qualification for November’s Nitto ATP Finals was confirmed as a result of second-round defeats for Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz. The Canadian will make his debut at the prestigious season finale, to be held in Turin from 13-20 November.
In his match against Ymer, Auger-Aliassime kept himself alive by excelling at crucial moments — the Canadian converted four of five break points he had while saving 14 of 17 that he faced. His determination to stay on the front foot as often as possible also proved key. According to Tennis Data Innovation’s INSIGHTS In Attack analysis for the second-round clash, the Canadian hit 31 per cent of his shots from attacking positions compared to Ymer’s 16 per cent.
INSIGHTS In Attack for Felix Auger-Aliassime Vs. Mikael Ymer
Auger-Aliassime’s recent run has seen the 22-year-old win titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel, and the eighth seed is now into the third round in Paris for the first time in three appearances as he chases his maiden Masters 1000 crown.
“[I’m pretty tired], but it’s not the time to complain and whine,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I decided to play these events, I won three of them, so I can’t complain. It’s fantastic.
“Here, I’m just trying to give my best. Let’s go and see day-by-day how I feel. Definitely today was a tough one, not only just the game but the way he was playing as well, he was making me work a lot. That added extra toughness to the match.”
Fritz and Hurkacz still had a chance of catching Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin if they could reach the championship match in Paris. Both players’ hopes were ended on a dramatic evening in Paris, where Fritz became the second consecutive player to fall in three sets to an inspired Gilles Simon.
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Simon, playing the final tournament of his professional career, backed up his thrilling first-round win against Andy Murray with a stirring 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory against Fritz. He converted four of 11 break points to extend his career by at least one more round in Paris, where he will meet Auger-Aliassime in the third round.
Hurkacz’s Turin qualification hopes were ended by Holger Rune, who prevailed 7-5, 6-1 in the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting to book a third-round clash against Rublev.
Rune, who next week will compete at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, did not face a break point in his 64-minute win. The Stockholm champion has now won 15 of his past 17 matches in the European indoor hard-court season.