Félix Auger-Aliassime had never played a singles match at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in his home town.
Still, on Tuesday afternoon, he managed to outmaneuver fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil at his best to snag a hard-earned victory (6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3)) and collect his third win in three matches against his British Columbian adversary.
When the two-and-a-half-hour battle finally came to a close, he had secured his ticket to the next round. Waiting in the wings is yet another Canadian: Milos Raonic.
Auger-Aliassime got things off to a terrific start with a break point and soon clinched the first set.
That’s when things got a little rocky.
With neither player able to consolidate a break, the set went into a tiebreaker dominated by Pospisil.
By the time the third set rolled around, a reset was needed. Again, the rivals stayed neck and neck. This time, the Quebecer powered through the tiebreaker to finish off his opponent.
“The match could have gone either way. It came down to just a few points. It’s too bad for him,” said the ever-courteous conqueror after the match. Auger-Aliassime hit nine aces versus five for Pospisil but racked up seven double faults (only two for Pospisil). His 83% of first serves won is an interesting statistic that largely explains the win. With 104 points versus 91 and three service breaks versus one, Auger-Aliassime had the match in the bag.