Quebecer Félix Auger-Aliassime will have the opportunity to get his hands on his first career title on the ATP circuit as he defeated Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinals of the tournament in Cologne, Germany , Saturday.
The 20-year-old won in three sets of 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. It was really this final set that was able to decide between the young wolf and the 32-year-old veteran. Auger-Aliassime placed good first balls in play and won 86% of the rally under these circumstances.
Each athlete was credited with three service breaks, and Bautista Agut had two in the second set, which he dominated on all counts to win 6-1. The Quebecer did not admit defeat and was more convincing in return thereafter, saving a breakage bullet.
After losing finals in Marseille and Rotterdam in February, will the third time be the right one for Auger-Aliassime? One thing is certain, he will have a heavy order at the end of the tournament, while he will face the German Alexander Zverev.
The latter, seeded number 1 in Cologne, beat Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in two sets of 7-5 and 7-6 (3) in the other semi-final.
Bad luck in Russia
In St. Petersburg, Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic were both defeated in the quarterfinal.
Shapovalov first folded in his semi-final ahead of Russian Andrey Rublev in three sets of 4-6, 6-3 and 6-4.
The Ontarian defended well against the local favorite and third seed in the tournament. More consistent on serve and incisive in return, the 21-year-old tennis player used one of his four break points to win the first set 6-4.
The Canadian did not have the same success in the second set and did not even put half of his first balls in play (15 of 31), leading to a breakage of Rublev. History repeated itself in the third assault and the Russian took the opportunity to collect a second career victory at the hands of “Shapo”.
“It was an incredible match,” Rublev told the ATP website after the duel. The standard was very high on both sides. We both deserved to win. Shapovalov was leading and had a serve break in the second set, so it could have ended quickly for me. One or two points sealed the outcome of the match, and today [samedi], it was for me. “
Shapovalov, 12th racket in the world, is still looking for a first final in 2020.
Two-stage defeat for Raonic
In the other duel, Raonic could not replace the Croatian Borna Coric, who beat him in three sets of 1-6, 6-1 and 6-4.
The great Ontarian had started the game brilliantly, easily winning the first round in 37 minutes. Helped by his seven aces in the initial assault, Raonic seemed headed for triumph, but Coric was far from having his last word.
The 23-year-old Croatian served as a serving game clinic for the Canadiens to also win a 6-1 set. The deciding set was much closer, but Coric, despite some difficulties, was able to save three break points and convert the only one Raonic offered him.
In the final, Rublev started with an advantage, showing a career 3-0 record against Coric.