Auger-Aliassime Wins On Mixed Day For Canadians In Stuttgart
Shapovalov falls to Struff in consecutive tournaments
Three Canadian stars — Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic — experienced mixed fortunes on Tuesday at the MerdedesCup in Stuttgart.
Seventh seed Auger-Aliassime, contesting his first ATP Tour match on grass, broke serve once in each set for a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in 86 minutes for his 21st match win of the season. The 18-year-old has finished as runner-up at the Rio Open presented by Claro (d. Cuevas) and at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon (l. to Paire) in 2019. He’ll now play Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk or Gilles Simon of France in the second round.
Auger-Aliassime is currently second (on 1,081 points) in the ATP Race To Milan (behind defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2,985) for one of the seven qualification spots to the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held from 5-9 November 2019.
Denis Shapovalov, who is in third position (795 points), lost out to Jan-Lennard Struff for the second time in as many tournaments. Struff, two weeks on from beating the 20-year-old eighth seed 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-4 in the Roland Garros first round, struck 14 aces in a 7-5, 6-4 win over 86 minutes.
Elsewhere, sixth seed and last year’s runner-up Raonic hit 31 aces to edge past Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(4) in two hours and 12 minutes. Raonic won 47 of his 50 first-service points, while Popyrin saved three set points from 3/6 in the first-set tie-break and led 2-0 in the deciding set. The Canadian now challenges Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has recorded 449 career match wins.
Germany’s Dustin Brown set up a second-round meeting against top-seeded compatriot Alexander Zverev after striking 16 aces past John Millman of Australia for a 6-4, 7-6(3) victory in 72 minutes.