10:08 PM GMT February 19, 2020
Felix Auger-Aliassime saved two match points and did things the hard way on Wednesday at the Open 13 Provence. The seventh-seeded Canadian squandered a 5-2 lead in the first set and recovered from 4/6 down in the second-set tie-break en route to beating Stefano Travaglia 6-7(3), 7-6(6), 6-3 for a place in the second round.
Auger-Aliassime, who reached last week’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final (l. to Monfils), saved match points after Italian Travaglia hit a backhand into the net and a forehand wide on successive points. He broke in the fourth game and completed victory in two hours and 31 minutes with his 13th ace.
He will next play Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who struck 19 aces and lost five first-service points (43/48) in a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over 2019 Marseille finalist Mikhail Kukushkin in one hour and 49 minutes.
Another Canadian, Vasek Pospisil, who returned to the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings (at No. 98) this week, booked his place in the quarter-finals earlier in the afternoon. Pospisil recorded his seventh victory in his past nine matches with a 6-3, 6-4 win over eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in 88 minutes. The former World No. 25, who has experienced back problems over the past five years, saved four break points and lost eight of his first-service points (33/41).
The recent Open Sud de France runner-up will next face second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals. The defending champion beat Mikael Ymer 6-1, 6-3 in 71 minutes.
Elsewhere, Egor Gerasimov hit 11 aces to beat fellow qualifier Dennis Novak 7-6(3), 6-3 in 83 minutes for a second-round meeting against third seed David Goffin.