Turin (Italy) For his maiden victory in the ATP Finals, Felix Auger-Aliassime could not have chosen a better victim. The Canadian, whose red-hot streak may have hit a recent blip stunned top seed, Rafael Nadal, in straight sets here on Tuesday.
The fifth seed bounced back impressively from his opening defeat to Casper Ruud at the season finale in Turin, where he defeated Nadal 6-3, 6-4 to notch his maiden victory in the prestigious season finale.
Auger-Aliassime said having played at the same court earlier helped him overcome Nadal.
“I think having one match here, I got used to the conditions on centre court,” Auger-Aliassime was quoted as saying in a report on the ATP Tour’s official website. “It helped me a lot. I felt my game was better today. My serve was great and return and backhand was much better. I was hitting it with my more consistency and quality. When I am playing like this, I have proven I can compete and beat some of the best players in the world.”
With this win, Auger-Aliassime moves to the top of the standings in Green Group with one win and one loss. Taylor Fritz of the United States and Casper Ruud of Norway have played one match and won their respective match. Nadal is at the bottom of the four-team group after losing both of his matches.
Despite the loss, Nadal has not been eliminated from contention for year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. If Ruud wins a set against Taylor Fritz on Tuesday evening, Nadal will be eliminated from semifinal contention in Turin and therefore Carlos Alcaraz will clinch year-end World No. 1.
Auger-Aliassime withstood some early pressure from the top-seeded Nadal, recovering from 15/40 to hold serve in both the first and seventh games of the first set. The Canadian produced precise serving and struck the ball cleanly off both wings at important moments throughout, saving five of five break points to improve his record in Green Group to 1-1. He will take on Taylor Fritz in his final round-robin match at the Pala Alpitour as he seeks to reach the semi-finals on his tournament debut, said a report on the ATP Tour website.
The quality of Auger-Aliassime’s serving performance is reflected in his INSIGHTS Serve Quality numbers for the match. He fired 15 aces and won 81 percent (39/48) of points behind his first delivery in the one-hour, 57-minute encounter.