Felix Auger-Aliassime won his first ATP tour title with a rousing straight-sets victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Rotterdam final. In the ninth tour-level final of his career, Auger-Aliassime finally broke his duck as he closed out the top-seeded Greek 6-4 6-2.
It took an hour and 19 minutes of play to post the biggest win of his career.
Auger-Aliassime Ends Title Wait In Style
Auger-Aliassime took a major step towards winning the Rotterdam title after mastering the tournament’s defending champion Andrey Rublev in Saturday’s high-quality semifinal. He was not to be denied ultimate glory as he expunged the demons that seemed to engulf him in previous final losses.
With a jawdropping 0-8 record and 0-16 in sets won in tour-level finals, Auger-Aliassime soared this time as Tsitsipas shrank in the face of pressure. The Greek was also looking to erase his own personal streak of losing every ATP final at 500 level. One of them was going to have a title in his respective stat on Sunday.
And it was Auger-Aliassime who did it with the composure of a veteran. He will leave Netherlands’ second city with his head held high and a ton more respect from his peers and fans.
The 21-year-old Canadian served smoothly in the championship match. And he used his monstrous forehand to great effect, moving Tsitsipas around the court. Auger-Aliassime began the match by laying waste on Tsitsipas’ serve as he broke him in the opening game. He pulled no punches as he kept pummelling winners from all parts of the court. He finished the first set without dropping a single point behind his first serve (16/16).
In the second set, Auger-Aliassime went into overdrive as he established a 5-1 lead with two breaks of serve. The final game was the culmination of perseverance and hard work paying off. A sensational backhand pass down the line gave him a headstart. And then a physical exchange between them resulted in a powerful forehand winner off the Canadian’s racket. Tsitsipas’ missed return off a big first serve gave Auger-Aliassime three championship points. And the top seed planted the final forehand into the tramlines as Auger-Aliassime raised his arms aloft, almost in disbelief.
”Have you seen your name there in the famous winner’s ring yet?” Richard Krajcikek, the tournament director sarcastically asked in the post-match trophy presentation. Auger-Aliassime – overcame with emotion – smiled as the lights shone brightly at the roof board depicting all winners of the Rotterdam Open including his name.
“It is the happiest day of my career, and hopefully this is the first of many to come,” Auger-Aliassime said. He was also quick to thank Krajicek for the wild card he received in 2018 in what was his main draw debut at the time. Fittingly, he has now won his first title on these shores with a domineering performance in the final.
Could this title success spark a trophy-laden career for Felix Auger-Aliassime?
Main Photo from Getty.