'Very close to perfect': Auger-Aliassime into Swiss final, now 3-0 vs. No. 1 Alcaraz
Shapovalov beats Coric to secure berth in Vienna Open final against No. 4 Medvedev
Felix Auger-Aliassime is playing some of the best tennis of his career and recent opponents have had no answer for him.
The Montreal native defeated world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2 to book his ticket to the Swiss Indoors final on Saturday.
He will next play Holger Rune in Sunday's final at 10 a.m. ET with eyes on his third consecutive ATP Tour title. Auger-Aliassime entered the tournament having won the Firenze Open and European Open in back-to-back weeks.
"It's amazing," Auger-Aliassime, the third seed in the tournament and No. 9 in the world, said after the match. "I never expected it, when I was in Florence three weeks ago, or after the U.S. Open. I'm just really happy that all my work is coming together.
"I've always believed that I can play this way, that I can be consistent in that way, but one thing is to believe and the other is to actually do it. It's nice to feel that way, it's nice to come out on the court and win that many matches in a row, so hopefully this is just the beginning of seeing me play this way."
WATCH | Auger-Aliassime improves career mark to 3-0 vs. Alcaraz:
It is the second time the Montreal native has defeated Alcaraz since he became the top-ranked player on the ATP circuit. Auger-Aliassime got the best of the 19-year-old Spaniard in a singles match at the Davis Cup on Sept. 16 while competing for Canada.
The Canadian is now 3-0 in career matchups against Alcaraz.
'I've been serving amazing'
Auger-Aliassime, who hasn't lost a match since Oct. 3 at the Astana Open, has only dropped one set in four matches so far in the tournament and has yet to have a break point converted against him.
"So far it has been very close to perfect [in Basel]," said Auger-Aliassime in his on-court interview. "I've been serving amazing, not getting broken once yet. There's still one match to go, but it's been a fantastic week, [I have] played some great tennis, and again today against the best player in the world. It's an amazing win, so I'm really happy with my level and hopefully I can go all the way."
The 22-year-old fired nine aces without committing a double fault in the match. He also won 82 per cent of his first-serve points while breaking on three of his eight opportunities in the one hour 21-minute match.
Alcaraz finished with zero aces and three double faults and could not convert on his lone break point chance. He won 62 per cent of his first-serve points.
The match started out as a back and forth affair as Alcaraz matched Auger-Aliassime for every game he won. Once tied at 3-3, Auger-Aliassime won three consecutive games to take the set. He hit six of his nine aces in the set.
WATCH l Auger-Aliassime defeats Bublik to reach semifinals:
In the second, Auger-Aliassime jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Alcaraz cut the deficit in the fifth game. Auger-Aliassime later broke in the seventh game to make it 5-2 before saving Alcaraz's only break point chance to win the set and the match.
"Showing up and taking care of my serve, game after game," Auger-Aliassime said after the match. "I think it was kind of a nervous start for both of us, but I think I was able to put a lot of pressure on 1/8with my 3/8 second-serve return, and I think he felt that.
"From that point I was able to get a lot of opportunities. [In the second set] I got a few free points and was able to really use them well. In [world] No. 1 fashion, he came back with some great points, had a break point [in the final game] to come back a little bit. It was 0/30 on my serve, so those are good games to win."
Also Saturday, Rune downed sixth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6).
Shapovalov wins 95 per cent of 1st-serve points
Canada's Denis Shapovalov will be moving on to the Vienna Open final after topping Borna Coric 7-6 (4), 6-0 on Saturday.
The Richmond Hill, Ont., native won a blistering 95 per cent of his first-serve points in addition to hitting seven aces.
Shapovalov also broke on three of his four opportunities.
"Definitely another great match for me," Shapovalov said. "Obviously Borna's played some long difficult matches, so I think the first set was very important.
"I was really happy, I played a great tiebreak. I thought it was very close from both of us. Just one point I think made the difference... Getting the break early on in the second set kind of just gave me a bit more energy and, you know, kind of made him lose, I think, a little bit of belief, but a great match for me."
WATCH l Shapovalov wins 2nd straight match against Coric:
Shapovalov sent the first set to a tiebreak after matching Coric with every game he won. The Canadian won the first three points in the final set before Coric came back to win four of the next seven. The 23-year-old Shapovalov won the set with an ace.
In a dominant second set, Shapovalov broke Coric's serve in the second game before saving a break point chance from Coric in the third. Shapovalov broke again in the fourth game as he held the Croatian scoreless en route to victory.
World No. 4 Daniil Medvedev will be Shapovalov's next opponent Sunday as he looks to win his second career title and first this year. Medvedev is 3-2 in his career against Shapovalov.
"It's a good opportunity for me playing against a guy like Daniil," Shapovalov said. "[I] beat him a couple times before — he's a great player though.
"I mean, he's playing tremendously. The last couple times he got me and he's very tricky. He's having a great week. He's been playing well the whole time here, so it's going to be a difficult battle, but looking forward to it."
Swiatek, Gauff in same group at WTA Finals
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek will face American Coco Gauff in a rematch of their French Open final after the pair were drawn in the same group for the round-robin stage of the WTA Finals that begins Monday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Roland Garros and U.S. Open champion Swiatek (21) and Gauff (18) — the two youngest players in the field — were joined in the Tracy Austin Group by Caroline Garcia and Daria Kasatkina following the draw for the season-ending tournament.
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, the second-ranked player in the world, topped the Nancy Richey Group in which she was joined by Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka.
The top two players in each group will progress to the Nov. 6 semifinals, with the final slate for the following day.
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza won the 2021 edition of the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.
With files from Reuters & The Associated Press
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