Félix Auger-Aliassime suffered a sixth setback in as many appearances in the final since the start of his young career on Sunday in Germany. A situation that seems to be starting to annoy him.
“I was bad from start to finish,” commented Auger-Aliassime at the start of an expeditious 1 minute and 41 second press briefing. He lost to Alexander Zverev – both tournament favorite and home favorite – in two 6-3 innings. If the press conference was short, so was the match: 1 h 20 min and it was over for the great German.
“Once again, in a final, it was difficult,” summed up the Quebecer, the tournament’s third favorite. I am not able to play my match. It is difficult to accept. I don’t have much to say except that I’m disappointed with my level today overall. “
To a journalist who reminded him that it was still already a sixth final for him, he offered an answer that betrayed a certain impatience in the face of his repeated failures in such a situation.
“Yes, that number is good, but someday I’ll have to find a way to win one of them,” he replied.
Ironically, the Canadian, only 20 years old, let us remember, became the youngest to reach a final for the sixth time since… Alexander Zverev, in 2017. The latter was also 20 years old at the time.
Auger-Aliassime still hasn’t won a set (0-12) in those six finals, most of which have been fumbled against top players, though. Besides Zverev, world number 7, his two finals lost this year were against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gaël Monfils. Last year, it was against Matteo Berrettini, Benoît Paire and Laslo Djere.
On the field, after congratulating his opponent, Auger-Aliassime elegantly underlined the work of the organization, which quickly set up this tournament in the difficult conditions we know.
We are doing it again in Cologne on Monday for a second consecutive tournament at the same place. Auger-Aliassime is registered again, and his compatriot Denis Shapovalov will also be in the game. They are respectively 5e and 3e favorites and both will receive a first-round pass.
Zverev will try to win the title for the second time in a row, while he will still be the favorite. It is found in Shapovalov’s half of the painting, not Auger-Aliassime’s.
Against Zverev, the young Canadian was never really in the game, after a bad start.
Nervousness? Excessive feverishness. Anyway, Auger-Aliassime, 22e in the world rankings, was broken in the first game, during which he committed a double fault on the second point.
Alexander Zverev was very easy to serve and the Quebecer was already struggling in this first set. The band, very dynamic, which played during the breaks, did not get him out of this bad situation.
As he served for the set at 5-2, Zverev broke a plateau for the Canadiens, committing a second double fault in the game. The door was ajar, but the German immediately broke Auger-Aliassime’s serve, for a third time, saving himself with the first set, 6-3.
The Canadian offered better opposition at the start of the second set. But it was not enough.
After breaking in the sixth game, the German however clearly lacked concentration in the next game, as at the end of the first set, sinning again by double faults. But this time he was able to recover from a 15-40 and save himself with that crucial seventh game.
At 6-3, 5-2, it was pretty much in the pocket. Zverev gets his hands on at least one title for the fifth straight year. At 23, this is his 12e, his fourth indoor.
His five double faults aside, the German was solid in service, winning in particular 80% of the points on his first ball. In total, he took away 58% of the points in each of the innings.
“Felix, you are an incredible player. I know that doesn’t mean much at the moment, but I’m convinced that not only will you win one title, you will win several in your career, and many more important than this one ”, the champion told his young opponent in the post-tournament ceremony.
Auger-Aliassime has yet to steal a round from Zverev, whom he faces for the third time.
He caused a stir twice against Tsitsipas last year, but has since lost eight straight games to top 10.
Another statistic that he is surely anxious to erase from his file. But, according to Zverev’s comments, that moment could happen very soon.