In a battle between #NextGenATP standouts, it was experience that made the difference for seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime against wild card Sebastian Korda at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC on Wednesday.
The World No. 19 Canadian found his best tennis in the big moments as he saved four of five break points he faced to edge past Korda 6-3, 6-4 and reach his second quarter-final of the year.
“It was not easy against him, but I think I had a great start, which for sure helped to put the nerves away,” said Auger Aliassime in an on-court interview. “You never know what to expect when the match starts, but I think maybe my experience in these kinds of matches paid off.”
Auger-Aliassime didn’t waste any time in creating opportunities on the Korda serve, keeping the American under pressure and taking a 2-0 lead. Korda did well to keep himself within touching distance as he battled from the back of the court, but Auger-Aliassime was rewarded when he came to the net.
The Canadian served out the opening set, but was pushed to the limit as Korda found another gear at the start of the second set. His forehand broke down under examination, and Korda broke through in a lung-busting rally to claim his first break of the match at 2-1. But he wasn’t able to keep the lead for long as Auger-Aliassime broke straight back. He re-established his lead with a run of four consecutive games through 5-3.
After serving out the victory in an hour and 35 minutes, Auger-Aliassime switched out his shirt for the Mexican National Team’s red, white and green tricolour soccer shirt.
“It’s a pleasure for us to be here,” Auger-Alissaime explained. “I love playing in Mexico, I love the crowd here. To be honest, it’s a great tournament, so I thought it would be a nice touch to bring out the home jersey.”
Auger-Aliassime awaits the winner of top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and big-serving John Isner in the quarter-finals.