On Sunday, Felix Auger-Aliassime crushed Stefanos Tsitsipas on the Rotterdam Open to win his first title. The stakes have been excessive as Auger-Aliassime endeavoured to win a maiden championship after falling simply quick in eight earlier event finals.
Tsitsipas, in the meantime, was making an attempt to re-establish his place among the many high NextGen contenders, after a comparatively disappointing finish to 2021 and a bruising four-set defeat, by the hands of Daniil Medvedev within the 2022 Australian Open semi-finals.
The competitors had already heated up earlier this week when each gamers confronted three-set matches within the semi-finals.
Tsitsipas misplaced his first set in opposition to Jiri Lehecka, who used serve-plus-one techniques and even handed aces to shortly finish the purpose, leaving no probability for his opponent to construct momentum within the rally.
Nonetheless, within the second and third units, Tsitsipas got here again to win by growing energy on his groundstrokes and hitting aggressive pictures down the road, utilizing his footwork to create inside-in winners.
Lehecka started to make extra unforced errors, as he was unable to cope with the pace of the balls, which discovered their method close to his toes and have been difficult to place again into play. Tsitsipas’s enhance in aggression helped win the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Auger-Aliassime additionally fought in opposition to the chances in opposition to defending champion Andrey Rublev. Although Auger-Aliassime hit a barrage of forehands from the baseline, the Russian stayed defensive and absorbed the strain till his opponent made an unforced error.
Rublev squeezed victory within the first set after a nail-biting 7-5 tiebreak. He faked an aggressive return place near the road however then fell again throughout Felix’s ball toss to hit a excessive topspin return and get a agency grasp within the change. Slowly constructing dominance, Rublev used his forehand to maneuver Auger-Aliassime round and compelled an error, closing out the tiebreak.
Auger-Aliassime’s groundstrokes grew to become extra dependable in his second and third units, step by step setting up the purpose and hitting winners from a place of power.
He more and more assorted his techniques, coming into the online and taking time away, utilizing the slice backhand to disclaim his opponent rhythm and deploying the inside-out forehand taking Rublev unexpectedly. By means of this, Felix got here again to win the match 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.
The final spherical of the event was fully completely different, with Auger-Aliassime storming to victory in straight units.
In a shock transfer, Felix broke his opponent’s serve within the opening sport and held his personal for the remainder of the set.
The Canadian made deep returns that have been onerous to place again in play, the final of which bounced excessive round Tsitsipas’s shoulders, forcing an error and transformed breakpoint.
Felix continued to maintain the strain on Tsitsipas with a combination of serving techniques, making use of a heavy slice out-wide, then electing to go down the “T”, outfoxing the Greek who had split-stepped the mistaken method.
Tsitsipas’s rally balls weren’t as deep, giving Auger-Aliassime house to maneuver ahead and dominate along with his highly effective topspin forehand. He additionally leapt on Tsitsipas’s uncharacteristically weak second serves, with a return winner down the road. By the tip of the set, Auger-Aliassime had hit fourteen winners to Tsitsipas’s six and made 4 unforced errors to his opponent’s 5.
The second set was nearly a replay of the primary, with Felix once more breaking within the opening sport. Auger-Aliassime developed his rally techniques, nonetheless hitting deep to Tsitsipas, however this time shifting him laterally throughout the baseline and denying him a agency buy within the rally.
Felix would hit forehand after forehand into his opponent’s backhand, locking him right into a defensive place on the advert facet. The chance of a triumphant backhand return dwindled as Tsitsipas would lastly make a compelled error because the rally went on.
This additionally denied Tsitsipas the possibility to make use of his forehand in level building. Different occasions, Felix would out of the blue change course and hit to the deuce facet, however the ball was too far-off for Tsitsipas to make good contact, forcing one other error.
As his confidence peaked, Auger-Aliassime locked Tsitsipas into the advert facet, then completed with a speedy down the road backhand winner that was too fast for his opponent to trace down.
The important thing to the match was at 1-3, the place Felix had one other breakpoint. If Tsitsipas held at this second, it might have given him the arrogance to dig in, preserve the error rely low, and use his forehand to achieve dominance steadily.
After the epic five-set loss in opposition to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros, it’s clear that Tsitsipas has the psychological power to grind out a match, even among the many mud of the French Open’s clay courts and the extreme warmth of Paris’s late Spring.
Right here although, on Felix’s benefit, Tsitsipas couldn’t comprise Auger-Aliassime’s uncooked energy, who leapt round what was meant to be a physique serve for a penetrating inside-out forehand. Later within the rally, a deep shot to Tsitsipas’s backhand put him on the defensive, and the ball discovered its method into the online.
At 4-1, Felix had a double break and was on monitor to victory. He consolidated in his subsequent service sport by once more pinning Tsitsipas in a confined backhand nook – essentially the most reliable tactic that had labored within the match to date. An ace closed out the sport for a 5-1 lead.
Tsitsipas managed to carry serve and keep alive for one more sport till it was Felix’s probability to serve out the match. Auger-Aliassime’s toes have been nimble, enabling him to get into a superb place to hit the return with curiosity, and dance in direction of quick balls, organising a winner.
At 40-0, Felix had three match factors. However he solely wanted one; a robust backhand cross-court made Tsitsipas hit one other error, and the Canadian received his first ATP title.
|Stefanos Tsitsipas||Felix Auger-Aliassime|
|First Serve||31/55 (56%)||28/44 (64%)|
|1st Serve Factors Received||23/31 (74%)||26/28 (93%)|
|2nd Serve Factors Received||8/24 (33%)||11/16 (69%)|
|Break Factors Saved||3/6 (50%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Service Video games Performed||9||9|
|1st Serve Return Factors Received||2/28 (7%)||8/31 (26%)|
|2nd Serve Return Factors Received||5/16 (31%)||16/24 (67%)|
|Break Factors Transformed||0/0 (0%)||3/6 (50%)|
|Return Video games Performed||9||9|
|Web Factors Received||3/6 (50%)||7/7 (100%)|
|Service Factors Received||31/55 (56%)||37/44 (84%)|
|Return Factors Received||7/44 (16%)||24/55 (44%)|
|Whole Factors Received||38/99 (38%)||61/99 (62%)|
|Serve Max Pace||215km/h (133mph)||211km/h (131mph)|
|1st Serve Common Pace||201km/h (124pmh)||202km/h (125mph)|
|2nd Serve Common Pace||160km/h (99pmh)||168km/h (104mph)|
Auger-Aliassime vs. Tsitsipas Rottterdam 2022 Highlights
Can Tsitsipas come again from his Australian Open exit and Rotterdam defeat for a profitable 2022 season?
And is that this the beginning of a protracted listing of titles from Auger-Aliassime, the place he begins to threaten different high gamers like Stefanos? Let me know within the feedback under.