Felix Auger-Aliassime played well at his first ATP Finals. The Canadian had a great run ahead of Turin, winning three consecutive titles and hoping for another strong run at the premium ATP event. Felix defeated Rafael Nadal and lost to Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz to end his first ATP Finals campaign in the round-robin stage. Felix and Taylor battled for a place in the semi-final, and the American prevailed 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 in two hours and 44 minutes. Auger-Aliassime stood two points from losing in straight sets in the second set tie break before prevailing and forcing a decider. Still, it was all we saw from him after losing ground in the final set. The American had 23 winners and 22 unforced errors, dominating from the baseline and outplaying the Canadian in the mid-range exchanges. Taylor lost only 17 points behind the initial shot, fending off all three break chances and keeping the pressure on the other side.
Felix stayed in touch until 2-2 in the decider before dropping four straight games to hit the exit door and leave Turin earlier than expected. They produced 12 commanding holds in the opening set and introduced a tie break. Felix missed a routine backhand to fall 4-2 behind and sent a forehand long at 4-6 to hand the opener to Taylor. The Canadian forced the rival’s mistake in the second set’s second game for break chances. Fritz denied three with quick points and avoided the setback. It was the only loose service game of the set, and they pushed hard behind the serve to present the second tie break after an hour and 54 minutes.
Taylor Fritz defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime at the ATP Finals.
Taylor forged a 4-2 advantage with a forehand winner before Felix bounced back and earned a set point with a well-constructed attack at 5-5. Auger-Aliassime converted it with a forehand crosscourt winner to force a decider and gain a massive boost. Taylor made a fresh start and held at love at 2-2 in the final set. The American pushed hard on the return in the next one and created four break chances. The Canadian saved the first three before spraying a forehand mistake on the fourth to find himself 4-2 behind. Felix served to stay in the match at 2-5 and got broken for the second time to propel Taylor over the finish line and into the semi-final.
“It was a high-quality match, with two tie breaks and over two and a half hours of play. I had chances on the return in the second set, and it’s unfortunate. It would have helped had I won the set earlier and gained momentum ahead of the decider. I played some bad points in the final set, probably after losing my focus a bit. I’m tired after playing so many matches in the previous weeks. It was a long season, and my brain did not look sharp at some points, leading to bad choices, mistakes and double faults. I have to give credit to Taylor; he made a great effort. I made a comeback in the second set, and he stayed present and played on a high level in the decider,” Felix Auger-Aliassime said.