Montrealer Félix Auger-Aliassime will have a chance to defend and retain his title at the Basel tennis tournament after scoring an emphatic 6-3, 6-2 victory against Dane Holger Rune on Saturday.
On his way to his first final in 2023, 19-year-old Auger-Aliassimee player in the world, never worried against the man who was ranked sixth in the world and who was the first seed of the tournament. The duel lasted only 82 minutes.
Auger-Aliassime only conceded two break opportunities, both in the eighth game of the second set when she was already leading 6-3 and 5-2.
She saved them, added her fifth ace of the day to give herself an opening match point, which she converted from the next point when Rune returned an Auger-Aliassime second serve at the net.
“My best game in a long time. Maybe all year,” admitted Auger-Aliassime, during an interview with ATP TV, on the court.
In Sunday’s final, Auger-Aliassime will face Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who earlier on Saturday defeated France’s Ugo Humbert in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5).
This will be the fourth meeting between the two players. Auger-Aliassime won the first two before losing the most recent one, which dates back to 2022.
This meeting between Auger-Aliassime and Rune was a repeat of their confrontation in the final of the same tournament, a year ago.
On this occasion, Auger-Aliassime won 6-3, 7-5, capping a streak of three titles in as many weeks.
Since that match, the two young players had met twice and Rune had won in straight sets each time.
A week after losing in Basel, Rune defeated Auger-Aliassime in the semi-final of the Paris Masters. A month ago, Rune did it again at Auger-Aliassime in Beijing.
In control from the start
The day after a physically demanding match – we saw him strain both hamstrings towards the end of the third set – against Russia’s Alexander Shevchenko and during which he even faced a match point, Auger-Aliassime went appear on the track with great enthusiasm. , which could not necessarily be said of Rune.
The Montrealer started the duel winning his serve without giving up a single point. Then, in the next game, Auger-Aliassime took what would be her only chance to break the first set when Rune sent a forehand into the net.
Auger-Aliassime easily consolidated this break and after only 12 minutes of action, he was already 3-0 up.
Early in the first set, Rune looked impatient and frustrated on several occasions. All this, under the watch of his new coach, former German glory Boris Becker.
Auger-Aliassime never allowed Rune to regain any confidence, completing the first set in 37 minutes without giving the Dane the slightest chance of a break.
The start of the second set was a continuation of the first. Serving in the opening game, Rune began by winning the first two points before losing the next four and the game.
Again, Auger-Aliassime consolidated the break with ease, and the Montrealer could have added another break in the next game when he created three break points. Rune saved them each time to stay on top of the fight.
But it was too little, too late for Rune.
As for Hurkacz, 11e world player, ended the duel with his fifth game thanks to an ace, the eighth of the clash that lasted 2h37 minutes.
In defeat, Humbert, 28 years olde in the world, he will have had the merit of fighting. First he saved two match points at 10e game, on his service, and two more during the tiebreaker.
On Sunday, Hurkacz will seek an eighth career title and a third in 2023.
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