Felix Auger-Aliassime seeks Turin boost in Florence

Felix Auger-Aliassime Cameron Norrie

Felix Auger-Aliassime is the top seed as the ATP Tour returns to florence for the first time in 28 years.

The Canadian has slipped out of the qualification places for the season finals in Turin after his first round exit in Nur-Sultan last week.

Auger-Aliassime’s loss was Taylor Fritz’s gain but he can move back ahead of the American if he can win his round of 16 match in Florence.

The 22-year-old has performed well on indoor hard courts in 2022, lifting his maiden ATP Tour crown in Rotterdam in February before reaching the final in Marseille a week later, he also owns an indoor win over Novak Djokovic from his Laver Cup outing last month.

Marton Fucsovics and Oscar Otte will battle for the right to face the top seed in the last 16.

Andrey Rublev is among Auger-Aliassime’s rivals for the remaining three places at Turin with the Russian in action in Gijon.

Rublev cannot move up or drop down in the race this week but a tournament win would help him inch closer to qualification.

He has admitted the need to become a bit more resilient when it comes to his mental game.

“Everyone has their own weaknesses,” he said. “My weakness is mental and little by little there are some improvements.

“I would already explode and because of that lose the match.

“But even in the moment it looks impossible to [maintain composure], I was able to do it.

“It was giving me a turning moment and I was able to win the match.

“I was feeling a bit proud of myself after the match, I’ll be honest.

“I showed on court I was better as a person. But I don’t want to focus on that. It’s like `OK, go back to reality, and you still have this problem there – go fix it.’”

Back in Florence, home hope Matteo Berrettini is the second seed and an outsider in the Race to Turin but certainly not a no-hoper.

Berrettini will be out to recapture his grass court form having so far delivered a 29-10 record for the season, a tally which includes titles in Stuttgart and at the Queen’s Club on grass.

He is far from the only Italian hope in the field with Lorenzo Musetti handed the third seeding.

Young Musetti has already qualified for November’s Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.

The draw hasn’t been terribly kind to Musetti who faces a potential second round meeting with compatriot has Lorenzo Sonego who was a titlist in Metz two weeks ago.

Sonego faces World No 74 Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the first round with the winner going on to take on Musetti.

Native Florenzi Flavio Cobolli battled through the qualifiers to join wildcards Francesco Passaro, Giulio Zeppieri and Francesco Maestrelli as the other Italian youngsters in the Florence draw.

World No 123 Passaro is the highest-ranked of the wildcards.

The 21-year-old from Perugia has reached five finals (winning one) on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2022 and is currently ninth in the ATP NextGen Race To Milan.

A trio of emerging Americans will hope to bring their best level to the indoor hard courts in Florence having enjoyed strong seasons on Tour in 2022.

Fourth seed Maxime Cressy and eighth seed Brandon Nakashima have both claimed their maiden ATP Tour titles in 2022, in Newport and San Diego, meanwhile sixth seed Jenson Brooksby was a finalist in Dallas and Atlanta.

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