08:10 PM GMT June 21, 2019
Felix Auger-Aliassime may not be as highly-ranked as Stefanos Tsitsipas, but he has the early edge in their budding FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.
After defeating the reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion at Indian Wells earlier this year, Auger-Aliassime beat Tsitsipas again on Friday at The Queen’s Club, 7-5, 6-2, to reach the semi-finals of the Fever-Tree Championships. The 18-year-old is the youngest semi-finalist at the ATP 500 tournament since Lleyton Hewitt, who was also 18 in 1999.
Auger-Aliassime had not played a tour-level grass-court tournament before last week’s MercedesCup. But the #NextGenATP Canadian reached the final there, and he is now just two wins from claiming his first ATP Tour title in London.
The key in this battle was Auger-Aliassime's performance under pressure. Not only did he convert three of the five break points he earned, but he saved all seven break chances he faced against the top seed. The teen struck nine aces and won 77 per cent of his first-serve points in his one-hour, 38-minute triumph.
The eighth seed will next face Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez for a spot in his second ATP 500 final. Auger-Aliassime has reached his first three ATP Tour finals this year, advancing to the championship match in Rio de Janeiro, Lyon and Stuttgart.
Lopez battled hard to move past former World No. 3 Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) after two hours and 17 minutes. The 37-year-old is the second-oldest semi-finalist at The Queen's Club in the Open Era, trailing only Pancho Gonzales, who was 44 when he reached the last four in 1972.
Lopez triumphed at this tournament in 2017, defeating four Top 15 players en route to the biggest title of his career. The lefty has lifted three of his six tour-level trophies on grass.
Did You Know?
Auger-Aliassime also defeated Tsitsipas in all three of their meetings on the ITF junior circuit, dropping just one set in those matches.