Auger-Aliassime outguns Tsitsipas at Indian Wells

Published by Reuters / Tennismash

Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrates his victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas at Indian Wells (Getty Images)
Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime continues his excellent form – and mastery of Stefanos Tsitsipas – to storm into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Felix Auger-Aliassime won the battle of the young guns by beating ninth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-2 on Saturday to advance to the BNP Paribas Open third round.

The 18-year-old Canadian, the youngest player in the world’s top 100, fired an unreturnable serve on match point to defeat the 20-year-old Tsitsipas – who is the youngest player in the top 10.

Later on Saturday, world No.1 Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to eight matches with a straight-sets win over Bjorn Fratangelo.

The Australian Open champion beat the American 7-6(5) 6-2 and will next face Philipp Kohlschreiber, who stopped Acapulco champion Nick Kyrgios, the No.31 seed, 6-4 6-4.

“I think I tried too hard in the first set to impress him,” Djokovic said of Fratangelo. “I was kind of waiting for him to do something with the ball rather than doing it myself. That resulted in a very close first set.”

No.3 seed Alexander Zverev and seventh seed Dominic Thiem also advanced to the third round, while 11th seed Borna Coric – a semifinalist at Indian Wells last year – was shown the door by fellow Croat Ivo Karlovic.

While the outcome of the Auger-Aliassime v Tsitsipas match was an upset on paper, the Canadian held a 3-0 advantage over Tsitsipas from their junior days.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect. I definitely didn’t expect to win that way,” Auger-Aliassime told Tennis Channel.

“But I believed in myself, was able to impose my game like I did in the first round, and that’s it.

“I know him well and I felt like maybe those three wins that I got in juniors gave me a little bit of an edge mentally.”

Next up for last month’s Rio Open finalist is either Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka or Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who play their second-round match later on Saturday.

In another stunning upset, American qualifier Marcos Giron battled back to down 23rd seed Alex de Minaur 1-6 6-4 6-2.

Playing in just his fourth ATP tournament, the Southern California native settled down after a shaky first set to dispatch the Australian.

The 25-year-old will be a heavy underdog when he faces Canadian Milos Raonic in the third round.

No.13 seed Raonic moved through to the last 32 thanks to a 7-6(1) 6-4 win over former world No.11 Sam Querrey of the United States.

Two recent title winners – Gael Monfils and Laslo Djere – continued their excellent form with wins in the second round on Saturday.

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Monfils, the 18th seed who triumphed recently in Rotterdam, beat Leonardo Mayer of Argentina to take his win-loss record in 2019 to a sparkling 13-3.

He next faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas, a player against whom he owns a 2-0 winning record.

Djere, who beat Auger-Aliassime to claim the 500-level clay-court title in Rio de Janerio, brushed aside Argentine Guido Andreozzi 6-3 6-4, and will next play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, a lucky loser.

Djere has won eight of his past nine matches.

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