Tennis

Auger-Aliassime bumps slump to beat qualifier at Barcelona Open

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime shook off his recent rust to win his opening match at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday.

Third-seeded Canadian to face No. 13 Frances Tiafoe in Round of 16 on Thursday

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime, seen above earlier in April, beat Spain's Carlos Taberner in three sets to advance to the Round of 16 at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime shook off his recent rust to win his opening match at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime, ranked No. 9 in the world and seeded third in the event, withstood a spirited challenge from Spanish qualifier Carlos Taberner to claim a 6-1, 3-6 and 6-4 clay-court victory.

"It was unfortunate that I lost my rhythm a little bit in the second set, lost my serve too many times, but I credit him also for defending well, showing a great level for a clay-court player," Auger-Aliassime said.

The Montreal native landed 71 per cent of his first serves with seven aces, while Taberner, the world No. 94, connected on 81 per cent of his first serves but had no aces.

Auger-Aliassime slumped into the tournament, with just one win in his previous four events.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime downs Taberner in 3 sets:

Auger-Aliassime survives scare, advances to round of 16 in Barcelona

4 months ago
Duration 4:10
Number three seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal advanced to the Barcelona Open round of 16 with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win over Carlos Taberner of Spain.

His recent struggles followed a highly successful start to the season that saw him help Canada win the ATP Cup, move on to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, win his first ATP title in Rotterdam and advance to the final in Marseille.

Auger-Aliassime will meet American Frances Tiafoe, the No. 13 seed, on Thursday.

Tiafoe advanced to the Round of 16 with a 7-6, 6-1 win over Hugo Dellien of Bolivia on Wednesday.

Alcaraz wins; Tsitsipas to finish match Thursday

Playing on home soil for the first time in nearly a year, Carlos Alcaraz defeated Soonwoo Kwon 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in his opening match at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday.

The 11th-ranked Spaniard, seeking his third title in 2022, improved to 19-3 this season. He was coming off an early exit in Monte Carlo after winning in Rio de Janeiro and Miami.

The 18-year-old Alcaraz hadn't played in Spain since losing to idol Rafael Nadal in the round of 32 of the Madrid Open last May.

"It was tough to keep up with the score in the second set," Alcaraz said after beating his 71st-ranked opponent from South Korea. "I think he started to play really well. And then I [started] very well at the third."

The fifth-seeded Alcaraz will next face countryman Jaume Munar, who defeated ninth-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-4.

Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas was 5-1 up in the first set when his match against 44th-ranked Ilya Ivashka had to be suspended overnight because of rain. The match will continue on Thursday morning.

Eighth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta defeated qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-3, 6-3 in an all-Spanish match, while Marton Fucsovics beat veteran Federico Delbonis 6-2, 6-1.

Alex de Minaur defeated Ugo Humbert 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

With files from The Associated Press

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now