Felix Auger-Aliassime managed to rally from a set down against former world number 1 Roger Federer to claim a statement victory at the Noventi Open in Halle on Wednesday, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The 20-year-old from Canada was confident and calm throughout the match against his idol, even though he narrowly dropped the opening set against Federer on one of his favorite courts. The two-time finalist at Stuttgart delivered a brilliant comeback to claim his fourth top 10 win and one of the most important victories of his tennis career.
Felix spoke to BookiePro after the match and informed our reporters that it was a fantastic win and a significant boost to his confidence for the rest of the Halle Open tournament. He also informed us that it was a great challenge against Roger and it makes him really happy. However, he is well-aware of the fact that it’s the quarterfinals in two days and he needs to stay sharp for the weekend.
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Federer’s Performance on the Court
Roger Federer, who claimed the prestigious Halle Open trophy on 10 occasions, was playing against the 20-year-old Canadian for the first time in his career. The two tennis stars share the same birthday but are separated by a whopping 19 years. This is the biggest age difference in the 1,521 matches that Federer has played in his career.
With a magnificent win on Wednesday, Felix Auger-Aliassime will await the winner between Marcos Giron and Jan-Lennard Stuff, who eliminated the number 1 seed Daniil Medvedev during the first round of the tournament. Federer, who entered the tournament with a 32-0 record in both the first and second rounds, was looking for his 18th quarterfinal appearance.
Federer was confident in the beginning as he controlled the rallies during the opening set, drawing the Canadian in with intelligent approach shots and redirecting the ball past him at the net. The Swiss sensation only had one break opportunity and successfully converted with a sizzling backhand down the line to go up 4-3 before comfortably closing the first set.
Auger-Aliassime added that he couldn’t have played any better during the first set, except for missing a forehand during his service game. He was stunned by Roger’s amazing passing shots and finally understands how good he was when he was world number 1.
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A Change in Tactics
The Canadian tennis star refused to wilt away and made some necessary changes in his tactics during the second set to ultimately target the backhand of Federer thanks to his strong serves. The 20-year-old earned himself attackable chip returns, placing Federer under a lot of pressure. This created five break point opportunities across two games, resulting in one being converted to eventually take a 4-2 lead during the second set.
Felix Auger-Aliassime continued to use the same strategy during the third set and managed to take advantage of Federer’s dip in his first serve percentage to go up a double break. The 20-year-old only faced a single break point throughout the match. During the third set, he took a 4-0 lead and stayed in front to claim victory in an hour and 45 minutes.
Federer, who was the 5th seed in the tournament, was looking for his 70th match victory in the Halle Open as well as his 18th quarterfinal appearance. The loss against the Canadian now brings his win/loss record for the 2021 season to 5-3. Will this defeat play a significant role with Wimbledon on the horizon?