07:21 PM GMT May 05, 2019
Best friend in the first round, best clay-court player ever in the second.
Felix Auger-Aliassime evened his friendly FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry (1-1) against fellow #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov on Sunday at the Mutua Madrid Open, dismissing the 20-year-old 6-2, 7-6(7).
The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime converted three of his nine break points and clinched his fourth match point when Shapovalov sprayed a forehand wide during their tense second-set tie-break. Shapovalov beat Auger-Aliassime at last year's US Open during their only prior tour-level meeting.
Auger-Aliassime improves to 17-9 on the season and continues to excel on clay. The teenager reached his first ATP Tour final at the Rio Open presented by Claro (l. to Djere) in February.
Auger-Aliassime, however, will face his toughest clay-court test yet in the second round when he meets five-time champion Rafael Nadal, the top seed who is 49-11 in Madrid. Nadal will be especially hungry for a deep run in the Spanish capital. He's coming off of semi-final finishes at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
In the only other main-draw match on Sunday, German Jan-Lennard Struff knocked out 2016 quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios 7-6(4), 6-4 and will next meet ninth seed Marin Cilic or qualifier Martin Klizan of Slovakia.