Felix Fires Past Tsitsipas In Rotterdam For First ATP Tour Title
Felix Auger-Aliassime finally cracked the winning code on Sunday as he captured his maiden ATP Tour title at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.
Competing in his ninth tour-level final, the third seed stepped up and handled the pressure, overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2 in 78 minutes to triumph in Rotterdam.
Auger-Aliassime, who edged Andrey Rublev in three sets to reach the championship match at the ATP 500 event, was relentless from the start against the Greek in a dominant performance. The 21-year-old fired his aggressive groundstrokes through the court and targeted the World No. 4’s backhand from the baseline to great effect to earn the biggest win of his career.
“It has not been the smoothest road since my first final three years ago,” Auger-Aliassime said during the trophy ceremony. “It is an amazing day for me to get my first title and especially here. I played my first ATP main draw here a couple of years ago, so it is right I won my first title here.”
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Prior to his showdown against Tsitsipas, the Canadian held an 0-8 record in tour-level finals and had not won a set in any of those matches.
However, following title match defeats in Melbourne and Stuttgart last season, Auger-Aliassime had showed signs he was close to jumping this final hurdle. The World No. 9 helped guide Canada to the ATP Cup title in January, before he reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, where he pushed Daniil Medvedev to five sets.
Having now broken his trophy duck, Auger-Aliassime has reduced his ATP Head2Head deficit against Tsitsipas to 3-5. It is the first time the third seed has defeated the World No. 4 since 2019, when he downed the 23-year-old on grass at The Queen’s Club. With his victory, Auger-Aliassime has also gained revenge for his defeat to Tsitsipas in the final in Marseille in 2020.
“I have a lot of good memories playing here in front of you, so thank you for making it a special week for me that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It is the happiest day of my career and hopefully it is the first of many to come.”
Haase/Middelkoop Clinch Trophy In Rotterdam
In a strong start, Auger-Aliassime quickly found his range, pinning the Greek behind the baseline as he looked to get the first strike away in the rallies. The Canadian’s heavy-hitting resulted in him breaking Tsitsipas in the opening game and from there he did not look back, winning 100 per cent (16/16) of his first-serve points in the set to move ahead.
Fuelled with confidence, Auger-Aliassime then pressed his foot further on the accelerator as he continued to clean lines and pull the Greek from corner to corner, surging into a 5-1 lead. The 21-year-old, who did not face a break point in the match, then kept his nerve to seal his victory on serve.
Tsitsipas was aiming to clinch his eighth tour-level title on Sunday, but first since May, when he lifted the trophy in Lyon. The World No. 4 has still yet to win an ATP 500 crown though.
“He played a really good match, producing really good shorts and serving well the whole match,” Tsitsipas said. “I wasn’t able to serve well at all today. He played very well.”
Earlier this season, the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion made a successful return from an elbow injury that plagued him at the end of last season by advancing to the semi-finals at the Australian Open.
Did You Know?
It was the second time Auger-Aliassime had competed in the championship match in Rotterdam, having fallen to Gael Monfils in 2020.