Auger-Aliassime 16-match win streak halted in Paris semifinals by Holger Rune
Danish teen will face Djokovic in 1st Masters final; World No. 1 Alcaraz out for season
Felix Auger-Aliassime's win streak has come to an end.
The Montreal native fell to Denmark's Holger Rune 6-4, 6-2 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Paris Masters.
Auger-Aliassime won 16 matches in a row, including three ATP Tour titles, before the loss in Paris. He beat Rune last Sunday in the Swiss Indoors final for his third consecutive title.
Auger-Aliassime struggled to keep up with Rune on Saturday, who relied heavily on his returns to outlast the Canadian.
"I saw some statistic that [my] backhand is going well in this tournament," said Rune. "So I tried to use that a little bit, especially against Felix who has such a great forehand and serve."
WATCH | Rune puts end to Auger-Aliassime's late-season win streak:
Auger-Aliassime gave Rune credit after the match.
"He kind of exposed weaknesses in my game," said Auger-Aliassime. "He was just playing so aggressively without missing. I haven't seen, or I haven't played, many players that were this aggressive and hitting that hard, that deep."
Auger-Aliassime's win streak has earned him a spot in the ATP Finals starting Nov. 13 in Turin, Italy, the first time he has qualified for the elite season-ending tournament.
The 22-year-old Auger-Aliassime has also played himself into contention for the Lionel Conacher Award, the Canadian Press's honour for male athlete of the year.
WATCH | Auger-Aliassime pulls off shot through his legs:
Rune, 19, will play his first Masters final against six-time Paris Masters champion Novak Djokovic, who beat fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in their semifinal later in the day.
Rune, who won both of his career titles this year, reached his fourth straight final of the season.
Contesting his first Masters semifinal, he won 86 per cent of his points on first serve and faced no break points. He ended Auger-Aliassime's 16-match winning run and the 22-year-old Canadian's bid for a fourth straight title.
Djokovic reaches 8th Paris Masters final
Djokovic beat Tsitsipas for the eighth straight time, edging an entertaining semifinal 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (4) to stay on track for a record-extending seventh Paris Masters title on Saturday.
Tsitsipas was 15-40 down on his serve in the ninth game of the deciding set but saved two break points — the second with a sublime one-handed backhand drop shot following a long rally — and held for 5-4.
"Some incredible points towards the end," Djokovic said. "I'm just really glad to overcome this challenge."
EYES ON THE PRIZE 💥<br><br>The moment 🇷🇸 <a href="https://twitter.com/DjokerNole?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DjokerNole</a> reached his 8⃣th final in Paris!<a href="https://twitter.com/RolexPMasters?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RolexPMasters</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RolexParisMasters?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RolexParisMasters</a> <a href="https://t.co/v1RyziqOf5">pic.twitter.com/v1RyziqOf5</a>—@atptour
The sixth-seeded Djokovic trailed 4-3 in the tiebreaker but won the next two points to go 5-4 up, and with two serves to come against the fifth-seeded Greek.
After a weak second serve, he used great defence to edge a rally when Tsitsipas patted a forehand volley into the net to give Djokovic a first match point. He took it with a smash at the net, cupped a finger to his ear and yelled "Come on!" to the crowd at the Bercy Arena.
"It's very sweet when you win matches like this against one of the best players in the world," Djokovic said. "I thought I started the match very well, again, great hitting like yesterday. I had chances early on in the second. The momentum shifted, the crowd got into it. I think he elevated his level of tennis."
The 21-time Grand Slam champion is also aiming for a record-extending 39th Masters title, a fifth title this season and a 91st career overall to move one behind 22-time major winner Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic improved to 9-2 in matches against Tsitsipas, who won two of their first three but now hasn't beaten Djokovic since the Shanghai Masters quarterfinals in October 2019.
Dabrowski, Olmos eliminated at WTA Finals
Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa and playing partner Giuliana Olmos of Mexico were beaten 7-6 (5) and 6-2 Saturday night in the WTA Finals women's doubles by Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine.
The match took one hour, 26 minutes to play.
The winners had seven aces compared to Dabrowski's one and the won 73 per cent of their points on first serve compared to Dabrowski's 50 per cent.
With the loss, and 1-2 record, Dabrowski and Olmos won't advance to the semifinal round.
Alcaraz tears stomach muscle
Top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz will miss the rest of the season after sustaining an abdominal muscle tear while playing at the Paris Masters.
The Spanish teenager pulled out during a second-set tiebreaker against fellow 19-year-old Holger Rune in their quarter-final on Friday. Following medical exams, the U.S. Open champion posted details of his injury on Saturday.
"Unfortunately this is the result of my injury: an internal oblique muscle tear in the left abdominal wall with an estimated recovery time of six weeks," Alcaraz wrote on Twitter. "I won't make the ATP Finals or the Davis Cup Finals. It is tough and painful for me to miss these two events, which are so important to me, but all I can do is be positive and focus on my recovery."
The ATP Finals are scheduled for Nov. 13-20 in Turin, Italy, with the Davis Cup Finals taking place from Nov. 23-27 in Malaga, Spain.
The Australian Open starts on Jan. 16.
Alcaraz will be replaced at the ATP Finals by American Taylor Fritz.
Alcaraz finishes a remarkable season with a 57-13 record and five titles, including Masters trophies in Madrid and Miami. In September, he became the youngest No. 1 in the ATP computerized rankings since they began in 1973.
With files from The Associated Press