How Félix can achieve his goal for the season
By winning a ninth game in a row, Félix Auger-Aliassime maintained his ambition on Wednesday to go in this tight race until the ATP final, which will bring together in Turin, in mid-November, the eight best rackets of the last season.
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Seventh in this ranking (see opposite), the Quebecer cannot afford to make a mistake if he wishes to participate for the first time in the prestigious event, one of his avowed objectives for the current campaign.
And if he sometimes trembled yesterday in Basel, in his first round match against the Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler, the 22-year-old player did not collapse. Faced with an enigmatic opponent, who at 26 years of age occupies his best ranking, 62nd, Félix was solid on serve and skilful at the net.
At least, enough to quickly forget the first tiebreaker and win 6-7 (3), 6-4 and 6-4, in almost 2 h 20 min of play.
Until the end
This victory is invaluable in L’Ancienne-Lorette’s quest for pride. Because if he has positioned himself well in this sprint towards Turin with his recent titles in Florence and Antwerp, the race promises to be tight until the end.
As the Serbian Novak Djokovic is qualified from the outset for the final, by virtue of his triumph at Wimbledon and his world ranking, three places remain at stake.
The Spaniards Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal, the strong men of the season, are also guaranteed to play in Italy, like the Norwegian Casper Ruud and the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Behind, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are on their way to getting their ticket, but they could always be caught by Auger-Aliassime. Just like Auger-Aliassime could still be joined by the Pole Hubert Hurkacz at the end of the week.
A premature defeat for Félix, who will face world 28th Miomir Kecmanovic today, combined with a fine push from Hurkacz in Vienna, would send him down the standings.
Thanks to “Shapo”!
The Quebecer was however entitled to a precious boost from his compatriot and friend Denis Shapovalov, who eliminated another of his direct opponents on Wednesday in Austria: the American Taylor Fritz, eighth in the race, whom he beat 6 -1, 4-6 and 6-3 in a second round match.
Hard to predict what is the « magic number » that assured Félix to be able to buy his plane ticket for Italy. But one thing is certain:
- If he wins the title in Basel, Auger-Aliassime will have 3,635 points on Monday;
- If he triumphs in Vienna, Hurkacz will have 3270.
Everything therefore risks being played out in Paris, next week, as part of the final tournament of the Masters 1000 series of the season.
A tight sprint to Turin
To qualify for the ATP final, Félix Auger-Aliassime cannot afford to fall in the « race » ranking.
The latter differs from the official ATP ranking. The eight players competing in Italy will be those who have accumulated the most points since the start of the season. The ATP ranking, in which Felix is currently ranked ninth, is calculated over the last 52 weeks.
- Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)* – 6550 points In action in Basel – qualified for the quarter-finals
- Rafael Nadal (ESP)* – 5810 points – Not playing this week
- Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)* – 5035 points In action in Vienna – qualified for the round of 16
- Casper Ruud (NOR)* – 4930 points – In action in Basel – eliminated in the 1st round
- Daniil Medvedev – 3645 points – In action in Vienna – qualified for the round of 16
- Andrey Rublev – 3440 points – In action in Vienna – qualified for the round of 16
- Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) – 3225 points – In action in Basel – qualified for the round of 16
- Taylor Fritz (USA) – 2990 points – In action in Vienna – eliminated in the 2nd round
- Hubert Hurkacz (POL) – 2860 points – In action in Vienna – qualified for the round of 16
- Novak Djokovic (SRB)** – 2720 points – Not playing this week
Points as of Wednesday
* Already qualified for the ATP Finals
** Already qualified thanks to his victory at Wimbledon and his presence in the world top 20