“It’s a good win. It’s good for my confidence to be able to beat Roberto since he beat me last time last year in a tough match,” Auger-Aliassime said on court after his one-hour, 50-minute victory. “Obviously I’m happy to beat a player like this today.”
Auger-Aliassime has previously reached five ATP Tour finals and fallen short in the championship match on each occasion. But on Sunday in Cologne, he will have an opportunity to reverse that trend against top seed Alexander Zverev.
“I’ve practised with him many times back home… hopefully tomorrow I can give myself chances to win. It’s going to be a great battle,” said Auger-Aliassime, who trails their ATP Head2Head series 0-2. “We’ve already played twice and for sure it’s the start of our careers and we’re going to play many times. This is our first final playing and hopefully not the last.”[WATCH LIVE 2]
To get to the final, Auger-Aliassime had to battle past the always solid Bautista Agut. In the first set, the 20-year-old Canadian played jaw-dropping tennis, hitting through the court and his opponent, winning 48 per cent of his return points and breaking twice to clinch the opener.
“I think in the first set I played one of the best sets of my career. I was doing everything well,” Auger-Aliassime said. “The ball was going exactly where I wanted to, I was putting pressure and I felt really good from the start.”
Felix hit a down-the-line forehand into the net to relinquish an immediate break in the second set, which allowed Bautista Agut to settle into the match. The Spaniard made the third seed work hard and used his consistency to force a deciding set.
“In my mind I knew it was going to still be a difficult match, but the way I started playing and with what I had today in me, I just felt like I would get chances at one point during the match. Things got a little more difficult in the second set. I didn’t feel like I played so bad, so I kept believing,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I served way better in the third set than I did in the first two sets and that helped me close the deal.”
The World No. 22 only lost three first-serve points in the third set (19/22) and he saved the one break point he faced to advance to the final. He is now level at 1-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Bautista Agut.