Felix Auger-Aliasssime continued his impressive grass court form to ease his way into the semifinals of the Noventi Open. The 20-year-old Canadian needed just 59 minutes to power past American qualifier Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2 on Friday in Halle. “I’ve been playing well these past two weeks, believing in myself a lot and dominating my service games,” Auger-Aliassime said. “As soon as I got the break [in the first set], I feel like I loosened up and things were just going better and better.
“I don’t think Marcos played his best match, I’ve seen him play great matches before and beat Top 10 opponents… but in the end, I think I was able to put a lot of pressure on him and dictate the points. So I can be happy with my performance.”
Auger-Aliassime is fresh from registering one of the biggest wins of his career in the last round, upsetting Roger Federer from a set down. “The main goal was to refocus. I received a lot of messages and attention, and those kinds of things can be tricky,” he admitted. “They can take you out of your ‘zone’ and your focus on the tournament.
“And maybe the outside doesn’t understand that as much, because even though it looks like I’ve won ‘easy’, I still have to come out and play good tennis and a good match. I think I made a good effort, stayed in my zone, and came out and played great again.”
Earlier, Auger-Aliassime was ruthless as he fired 25 winners and just seven unforced errors in the clash against qualifier Giron. The Canadian saved the only break point he faced at 2-2 in the opening set. From there on, it was easy sailing for him as he raced to a break of his own in the next game to lead 4-2.
After closing out the first set, the second was a mere formality for him. Auger-Aliassime took the lead with a double break and fired his 14th ace of the match to set up match point before following it up with an unreturned serve to seal the win.
Andrey Rublev survived a tie-breaker before running riot in the second set to reach the semifinals of the Noventi Open. He registered a 7-6, 6-2 victory over 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in 81 minutes. “I am happy with my performance to reach the semi-finals for the first time,” said Rublev, who hit 29 winners to secure a place in his sixth ATP Tour semifinal of the year.
“The first set was really tough. He was 3/0 up in the tie-break and I came back, which was the key. After the first set, I think he mentally went down and I was pumped up. I hit a couple of good returns in the first game of the second set.”
Rublev, who is currently ranked No. 7 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, will face Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili in the next round. In their ATP head-to-head series, Rublev is 2-2 against Basilashvili.