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Madrid Masters 1000: Felix Auger-Aliassime eliminates one of the best players in the world

Madrid Masters 1000: Felix Auger-Aliassime eliminates one of the best players in the world

Facing off against one of the best players in the world, Casper Ruud, on Tuesday at the Masters 1000 in Madrid, Felix Auger-Aliassime did not look like an athlete who had struggled for a year.

It was quite the opposite, in fact. The Quebecois team defeated the Norwegian, ranked fifth and sixth in the world, 6-4, 7-5, to qualify for the quarter-finals of the prestigious tournament, where he will face Italian candidate Jannik Sinner, on Thursday.

A brilliant victory, which he celebrated with a wide smile and his eyes sparkling, after shaking hands at the net.

To be sure, Ruud may at times have been carrying the weight of his recent performances – the final in Monte Carlo, then the title in Barcelona – in his legs.

But beating the 25-year-old on clay is rarely easy: Ruud has reached the French Open final the past two years.

“One of my biggest victories”

Beating him this season, regardless of the season, is also a big challenge, as the former world number two is currently the ATP wins leader with 29.



Photo by Agence France-Presse

“I feel like it's one of my biggest wins, and not just this year,” Felix beamed in an on-pitch interview, shortly after his victory. Casper had the upper hand over me during our last encounters (the Norwegian won three of his four encounters). His stats this season show how good he is and how dominant he is.

Work that finally pays off

But this time, it was Auger-Aliassime who was in control for long periods of the match, repeatedly connecting his powerful serve and big forehand to open up the court.

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We've also seen him on several occasions shoot into the net in order to destabilize his opponent, a strategy that has proven successful.

His defense was also an asset on Tuesday. On the other hand, especially against the backhand, the 23-year-old was able to dominate Ruud several times.



Madrid Masters 1000: Felix Auger-Aliassime eliminates one of the best players in the world

Photo by Agence France-Presse

For the first time since October

It's enough to make the Quebecois player smile, who noted in an interview that he's happy to finally be able to translate what he's been working on in training into a game.

“I believe in my work. This sport is a marathon. With my team, we try to get better as the weeks go by, and sometimes, things don't go the way we want.

“I've had some close losses this season, but this time things worked out in my favor. And it's even more so this week.”

This is for “FAA”, 35H This week, the team achieved its first victory over a player ranked among the top 10 players in the world since its victory over Dane Holger Rohn last October in Basel.



Madrid Masters 1000: Felix Auger-Aliassime eliminates one of the best players in the world

Photo by Agence France-Presse

Even if his start to the year isn't as painful as the long slump he experienced in 2023, Felix has yet to beat a top-75 team this season before his appearance in Madrid.

He did it in the second round, defeating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino (20 years old).H In the world 6-0 and 6-4. And now, after two matches, the “FAA” continues in the most beautiful way against one of the players of the hour on the ring.

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He noted: “I knew it would be my toughest match so far in this tournament, and it was, so I'm happy to win.”

Felix even looked set for a quicker victory on Tuesday when he broke Ruud early in the second round. But the Norwegian quickly returned the favor, and it seemed that this break gave him confidence.



Madrid Masters 1000: Felix Auger-Aliassime eliminates one of the best players in the world

Photo by Agence France-Presse

Except Auger-Aliassime held up well and ended up converting one of three break points offered to him by the fifth seed in the 12th.H Second group game. The latter was served behind the baseline by Ruud, and the Quebecois player had no difficulty with his final serve.

Huge discount

Enough to prepare him well for the enormous challenge he will face in his first Masters 1000 quarter-final, the most prestigious tournament after the Grand Slam, since Indian Wells 2023.

Sinner, the No. 2 ATP player and recent Australian Open champion, has a formidable record of 28-2 this season.

Felix has beaten him in just two meetings so far (one of them in the round of 16 in Madrid), but both meetings took place in 2022, before the 22-year-old Italian settled comfortably at the top of the world rankings. .

“A lot of things have changed in his team since then,” he said “FAA” when asked about the upcoming match. But knowing that I've already overcome it definitely gives me confidence.

“However, I will have to play my best tennis.”