04:05 AM GMT February 21, 2019
#NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime had nothing to lose on Tuesday evening against second seed Fabio Fognini, and he played like it. The 18-year-old wild card picked up one of the biggest wins of his career, dismissing the Italian 6-2, 6-3 at the Rio Open presented by Claro.
“It's at the top, for sure, with my most memorable wins,” Auger-Aliassime said. “You come here, you play the second seed, obviously you're not favoured. But you just believe in your tennis, you believe in your game. These wins, that's what you work for.”
Serving for the match, at 5-3, 40/15, Auger-Aliassime needed three match points, but the teenager ultimately put away Fognini, who fell to 3-5 this year, including 0-3 on clay.
“After losing the first point, I got a bit worried. You always want to win the first point of the last game, but then I recovered well with some good serves, and I think I did what I had to do on the match points,” Auger-Aliassime said.
The win against Fognini, who finished 2018 at a career-high No. 13 but has since fallen to No. 16, is Auger-Aliassime's biggest win by ATP Ranking. In August, at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, he beat then-No. 18 Lucas Pouille for his first Top 20 win.
The teenager will next meet Chile's Christian Garin, who beat Auger-Aliassime in three sets last week at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires. Garin advanced on Tuesday in Rio with a 7-5, 6-3 win against Germany's Maximilian Marterer.
Spain's Jaume Munar knocked out Argentine Leonardo Mayer 7-6(5), 6-4. The 21-year-old Munar will meet Brit Cameron Norrie, who needed only 59 minutes to beat sixth seed Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-1.