Felix Auger-Aliassime almost saw his debut at the Rogers Cup end in disaster, and for it being a dream of his, the young Canadian tennis star saw himself pushed to the limits by fellow countrymen Vasek Pospisil Tuesday during first round action at the Rogers Cup.
At the end of it, Felix Auger-Aliassime was able to pull off a three set victor defeating Pospisil 6-2, 6-7, 7-6, and in doing so, advance to the second round in front of a hometown audience. Playing his first Rogers Cup, Auger-Aliassime, who is ranked 21st in the world, is hoping to make it far in the ATP Tour Masters 1000 series event.
A native from Montreal, the more experienced Vasek Pospisil failed to control the match, one which saw multiple long volleys going back and forth between the two. After winning the first and second set, Auger-Aliassime was up 4-3 in the third when it seemed Pospisil began to experience cramps that caused him to make several errors and ultimately that cost him any hope of advancing.
The crowds were clearly behind their hometown hopeful and could be heard cheering when Auger-Aliassime sent a wicked backhand return that resulted in the teen celebrating with a fist pump. He continued to push hard and Pospisil, who is attempting a return to full time tennis after a back injury, simply was unable to match the pace set by Auger-Aliassime.
At the conclusion of the match, the two shook hands at the net and were seen patting each other on the back. After just over 2 and a half hours of play, and several interviews later, Auger-Aliassime and Claude Raymond, a former pitcher for the Montreal Expose rallied the crowd as the played some tennis baseball.
Auger-Aliassime will next face another challenge as he meets Canadian Milos Raonic in the second round, who advanced on Monday after he defeated Lucas Pouille. Also advancing is Canadian Denis Shapovalov who won his first match against India’s Rohan Bopanna. He will next face No.4 ranked Dominic Thiem in the second round.
Auger-Aliassime, who on Thursday will turn 19, began the Rogers Cup with 28 won matches so far this year and that includes winning 12 of his last 16. He began the season ranked 106th and is now holding a world rank of 21. He has, in his short professional career earned six victories, made it to the finals in three ATP events but has failed to win his first title.
For punters who follow ATP tennis, many are hoping this could be the tournament that Auger-Aliassime earns his first title, and with many Canadian friendly sportsbooks such as Sports Interaction offering action on the Rogers Cup, the timing to show some support for the local star is perfect.
In other Rogers Cup action on Tuesday, Marin Cilic was successful in his bid to advance after eliminating American Bradley Klahn. Marin, who is seeded 14th advanced to the quarterfinals last year before being overcome by Spain’s Rafael Nadal. Also advancing is John Isner after he earned a 3 set win over Jordan Thompson from Australia.