Montreal’s Félix Auger-Aliassime loses in Madrid quarter-finals

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Defending champion Alexander Zverev advanced to the semifinals of the Madrid Open ATP Masters event on Friday, but not before surviving a spirited comeback by Montrealer Félix Auger-Aliassime.

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The second seed from Germany beat Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 7-5 to set up a semifinal meeting Saturday against fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

After breezing through the first set in 33 minutes, Zverev broke Auger-Aliassime in the second game of the second set and raced to a 4-1 lead despite some shaky serving. After losing only three points on his serve in the first set, Zverev double-faulted twice in the opening game of the second set and then double-faulted three times at 2-0 to give Auger-Aliassime his first two break points.

Zverev held on to win the game and was in a position to take total control of the set when he enjoyed four break points while Auger-Aliassime was serving at 1-4. The 21-year-old Canadian finally managed to hold his serve in a game that took 14 minutes and he climbed back into the match by breaking Zverev in the next game, again with the help of a crucial double-fault by the German.

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Auger-Aliassime fought off two match points to draw even at 5-5, but he hit a forehand long in the 12th game to give Zverev the win.

Zverev’s second serve was an adventure for most of the match. He double-faulted nine times, but when he managed to put his second serve in play, he won 14 of 16 points.

This was the third consecutive tournament in which Auger-Aliassime lost in the quarter-finals. He was trying to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the Miami Open in March 2019.

Tsitsipas defeated fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

The other semifinal will match top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia against 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. Djokovic was an easy 6-3, 6-4 winner over 12th-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, while Alcaraz outlasted third-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. It was the first time in his pro career that Nadal has lost to a teenager.

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