Felix Survives Varillas Scare, Earns First Roland Garros Win

  • Posted: May 22, 2022

Felix Survives Varillas Scare, Earns First Roland Garros Win

First time Canadian has won from two sets down

Felix Auger-Aliassime survived a major scare Sunday at Roland Garros, rallying from two-sets-to-love down for the first time in his career to reach the second round in Paris for the first time.

The World No. 9 recovered from a slow start to overcome Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in a dramatic opening day encounter on Court Philippe Chatrier.

In a tight match, the Canadian struggled to cope with the World No. 122’s variety and intensity in the first two sets, with the Peruvian visibly pumped on what was his Grand Slam debut. However, Auger-Aliassime managed to turn the tables as he cut down on errors. The ninth seed found more first serves and hit with greater power, forcing Varillas into mistakes to advance after three hours and 13 minutes.

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The 21-year-old is making his third appearance in Paris and will next play Aslan Karatsev or Argentine qualifier Camilo Ugo Carabelli. Earlier this month, the Canadian reached the quarter-finals at ATP Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome in May.

In their first ATP Head2Head meeting Varillas made a fast start against Auger-Aliassime, quickly finding his range to break immediately. He hit his consistent groundstrokes with depth and precision for the opening 90 minutes, committing just seven unforced errors across the first two sets to take control.

However, Auger-Aliassime refused to go away, raising his level in the third set as he cut down on mistakes and started to take the ball earlier to remove time from the Peruvian, who started to tire.

The Canadian won 100 per cent (12/12) of his first-serve points in the fourth set to level the match, before he gained the crucial break in the eighth game of the fifth set to eventually break Varillas’ resistance. He then held serve to triumph, letting out a roar in relief.

After coming through qualifying at a Slam for the first time in his seventh attempt, Varillas was aiming to earn just his second tour-level win of the season and first Top 10 victory of his career. The four-time ATP Challenger Tour champion defeated Facundo Bagnis in the first round in Cordoba in February.

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