‘Very close to perfect’: Felix Auger-Aliassime stuns World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz
Felix Auger-Aliassime proved he is in the form of his life at the Swiss Indoors Basel, where he stunned World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2 to reach the championship match.
Auger-Aliassime kept the bustling Alcaraz under pressure with big bombs from the baseline.
The Canadian also demonstrated some of the rapid serving that has marked his impressive European indoor hard-court season to date as he overwhelmed the US Open champion.
“So far it has been very close to perfect [in Basel]”, said Auger-Aliassime, who has dropped just one set this week, in his on-court interview.
“I’ve been serving amazing, not getting broken once yet. There’s still one match to go, but it’s been a fantastic week, [I have] played some great tennis, and again today against the best player in the world. It’s an amazing win, so I’m really happy with my level and hopefully I can go all the way.”
The win bolsters Auger-Aliassime’s grip on the crucial seventh-place position in the ATP Race To Turin and puts him in position to move up into sixth.
The Canadian (3,435 points) is now just five points behind sixth-placed Andrey Rublev.
His form of late has strenghtened his bid to qualify for November’s ATP Finals for the first time.
The 22-year-old can leapfrog Rublev on Sunday by defeating Holger Rune, a 7-6(1), 7-6(6) semi-final winner against Roberto Bautista Agut, to claim the title in Basel.
Auger-Aliassime took control of the match in the eighth game, when he broke Alcaraz to love after a cagey start from both players.
The 22-year-old stayed solid to wrap up the first set before two further breaks in the second sealed the win.
Auger-Aliassime improves his record against the Spaniard to 3-0 at ATP Tour Level and it seems he might have the World No 1’s number.
“I played great again,” said Auger-Aliassime. “Showing up and taking care of my serve, game after game. I think it was kind of a nervous start for both of us, but I think I was able to put a lot of pressure on [with my] second-serve return, and I think he felt that.
“From that point I was able to get a lot of opportunities. [In the second set] I got a few free points, and was able to really use them well. In [World] No. 1 fashion, he came back with some great points, had a break point [in the final game] to come back a little bit. It was 0/30 on my serve, so those are good games to win.”
Auger-Aliassime’s 82-minute triumph, in which he struck 23 winners to Alcaraz’s eight, extended his winning streak to 12 matches.
He is on a run that has included titles won Florence and Antwerp, and he will now bids for a third consecutive crown in Sunday’s championship match against Bautista Agut or Rune.
“It’s amazing,” said Auger-Aliassime later.
“I never expected it, when I was in Florence three weeks ago, or after the US Open. I’m just really happy that all my work is coming together.
“I’ve always believed that I can play this way, that I can be consistent in that way, but one thing is to believe and the other is to actually do it. It’s nice to feel that way, it’s nice to come out on the court and win that many matches in a row… So hopefully this is just the beginning of seeing me play this way.”
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