Canada’s Auger-Aliassime advances to fourth round of Australian Open


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MELBOURNE, Australia - Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to move on to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to move on to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The Montreal native fired nine aces and won 85 per cent of first-serve points, in addition to breaking on six out of 20 chances.

He also had 38 winners to Cerundolo’s 22 in a match played Friday afternoon in Melbourne.

After cruising through the third set, the sixth seeded Auger-Aliassime was met with quite the challenge from Cerundolo in the fourth.

After falling behind 2-1, the 22-year-old Auger-Aliassime strung together three consecutive games to go up 4-2.

Cerundolo, however, trimmed the deficit thanks to an error from the Canadian after a forehand winner provided him the advantage out of a deuce.

It then turned into a back and forth affair as the two would match one another after every game won.

But that failed to work in favour of the Argentine, as Auger-Aliassime cruised through the final game, taking match point with an ace.

“I was playing a bit tight and not going for it in the second set and he did, so credit to him,” said Auger-Aliassime, who advanced to the fourth round in Melbourne for the third consecutive year. “I’m happy with how I was able to turn it around and the last two sets were probably some of my best ones so far in this tournament. It’s a good start and just happy to be through.”

Auger-Aliassime will next meet Jiri Lehecka in a Round of 16 match on Sunday.

Canadian Denis Shapovalov was defeated in his third-round matchup against Poland’s Hubert Hurkaczv in men’s singles action. The Richmond Hill, Ont. native battled back from two sets down to force a deciding fifth set, but ultimately fell 6-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 3-6.

In women’s doubles action, Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Giuliana Olmos of Mexico defeated American Shelby Rogers and Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round.

Dabrowski and Olmos fired three aces to just one double fault and won 73 per cent of first-serve points. They also broke on 5-of-9 opportunities.

The third seeded-duo had 25 winners to their opponents’ 21.

Dabrowski and Olmos will next meet the Swiss pair of Belinda Bencic and Jil Teichmann.

Meanwhile, fellow Canadian Leylah Fernandez and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S. fell 7-6 (5), 4-6, 3-6 to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia and China’s Zhang Shuai in their first-round match.

After winning the opening set, Fernandez and Mattek-Sands fell apart following a great start to the second.

The duo won the first four games of the middle set. From there, Haddad Maia and Zhang took over with six consecutive games to win the set.

In the third, they built on their momentum, taking three of the first four games. Fernandez and Mattek-Sands could not get any closer than within two games in hopes of a comeback.

Fernandez and Mattek-Sands broke on four of their 12 opportunities in comparison to their opponents going 6-for-10.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2023.

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