Tennis

Auger-Aliassime loses bid for 1st ATP Tour title in Cologne final

Alexander Zverev ended his 17-month wait for a title by beating Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 to win the Cologne Indoors on home soil in Germany on Sunday.

Canadian 0-3 in career vs. Germany's Zverev, whose 17-month wait for title ends

Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal is still waiting for his first career title after losing six finals in two seasons, the latest a straight-sets defeat on Sunday in the Cologne final at the hands of German Alexander Zverev, who improved to 3-0 lifetime against the Canadian. (Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

Alexander Zverev ended his 17-month wait for a title by beating Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 to win the Cologne Indoors on Sunday.

Zverev has had a breakthrough year in Grand Slam tournaments with his first semifinal at the Australian Open in January and first final at the U.S. Open last month, when he lost to Dominic Thiem.

Zverev has said he thinks almost constantly about that final, and he credited it with raising his game in Cologne.

"I had a very tough final in New York and, the next final I played here, I wanted to come out and play my best tennis," he said.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime loses to Zverev in straight sets:

Auger-Aliassime falls to Zverev in Cologne Open final

Sports

1 month agoVideo
2:20
Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime drops a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Alexander Zverev in the final of the Cologne Open. 2:20

The German hadn't played the final of any regular ATP Tour events until Sunday. Zverev's previous title was at the clay-court Geneva Open in May 2019 and he is now 12-8 in career finals.

Zverev broke Auger-Aliassime's serve in the first game of the match to establish early control. Zverev broke in the second at 3-2 and saved two break points in his next service game to hold off a fight-back from the Canadian.

Bond formed at practice sessions

Auger-Aliassime is still waiting for his first career title after losing six finals in two seasons, all of them in straight sets. All three of the finals that the 20-year-old Canadian has played this year have been on indoor hard courts.

"Again in the final, it's tough," Auger-Aliassime said. "It's just tough to accept, so I don't have much to say outside of I'm disappointed from my level today overall and I'll try again."

Zverev said he and Auger-Aliassime had bonded while practising together in Monaco during the coronavirus pandemic, and he predicted a bright future for the Canadian.

WATCH | Felix Auger-Aliassime fires 7 aces in semifinal win:

Auger-Aliassime advances to final of Cologne Open

Sports

1 month agoVideo
1:12
Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime defeats Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Cologne Open. 1:12

"You're going to be lifting a winner's trophy very, very soon," Zverev said.

The Cologne Indoors is the first of two new back-to-back tournaments the city is hosting after the ATP calendar was modified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second Cologne tournament was already holding qualification matches before Sunday's final in the first tournament took place. It will feature Zverev, former top-ranked player Andy Murray and U.S. Open quarter-finalist Denis Shapovalov.

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