08:57 PM GMT July 01, 2019
During his breakout 2019, #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, 18, has reached three ATP Tour finals and become the youngest player to crack the Top 25 of the ATP Rankings since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in 1999.
But Auger-Aliassime, as a matter of timing and luck more than anything, was without a Grand Slam win, until Monday. The 19th seed won his first Grand Slam match at Wimbledon, beating countryman Vasek Pospisil 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3. Auger-Aliassime lost in Australian Open qualifying and had to miss Roland Garros because of a left adductor injury.
“For any player to get his first Grand Slam win is a big relief, and it's a good achievement for me. At the same time with the level I'm playing now and my ambitions, I look forward and I look to go even further than that,” he said.
Auger-Aliassime overcame some early nerves and broke the big-serving Pospisil six times to improve to 2-0 against his 29-year-old countryman, who was playing his first tour-level match since October 2018 after undergoing back surgery to repair a herniated desk on 18 January.
“It was a lot of positives, to be honest. I felt like I was, considering I haven't played for eight months, that I was hitting the ball well,” Pospisil said. “I think as the match was going down, my level was just dropping a little bit. His was going up. You've got to be in top shape and playing extremely well to be beat Felix in any match, best of five, especially.”
Auger-Aliassime started the season No. 108 but is close to cracking the Top 20 after reaching two clay-court finals – Sao Paulo, Lyon – and the MercedesCup title match on grass. Auger-Aliassime also knocked out reigning Next Gen ATP Finalist titlist Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the Fever-Tree Championships semi-finals.
The teenage prodigy will next face #NextGenATP Frenchman Corentin Moutet, who came back to beat 2014 Wimbledon semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-1. Dimitrov served for the match at 6-5 in the third set. Auger-Aliassime has never faced the 20-year-old Moutet, who reached the third round at Roland Garros.
In an all-French battle, youth beat experience as #NextGenATP Ugo Humbert also came back from two sets to zero down to beat Gael Monfils 6-7(6), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 3-0, advancing when Monfils had to retire. Humbert will next face Spain's Marcel Granollers, who swept Italian Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4. Sonego won his maiden ATP Tour title on Saturday at the grass-court Turkish Airlines Open Antalya.