Felix Auger-Aliassime is making his case for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals loud and clear.
The Canadian won his second title in as many weeks on Sunday when he defeated Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-4 for the European Open trophy in Antwerp.
“It’s another great week. I played some great tennis and really fought hard to stand here in front of you today, so big shoutout and thank you to my team,” Auger-Aliassime said during the trophy ceremony. “My coach and my physio [are] here and my whole family that came all week, so thank you very much, it’s been a great week.
“It wouldn’t be so special of course [if we weren’t] in front of all of you. That’s why we play tennis, to play in front of big numbers of people like this on center court, so thank you all for coming in big numbers this week.”
Auger-Aliassime remains seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, but he now holds a 340-point lead over eighth-placed Taylor Fritz. Auger-Aliassime currently holds the final qualifying position because 10th-placed Novak Djokovic has guaranteed his place under the Grand Slam champion provision, which awards entry to a current-year major winner who finishes between eighth and 20th in the Live Race.
The Canadian arrived in Florence last week fresh off a first-round exit in Astana. Since then, the 22-year-old has won eight consecutive matches, with six of those victories coming in straight sets. He produced a nearly flawless performance on Sunday to earn the Antwerp crown after one hour and 26 minutes.
Earlier this year, Korda defeated Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 6-2 on the clay of Estoril. This proved to be a very different match, with the Canadian taking a 2-1 lead in their ATP Head2Head series.
“You got me good last time we played, so I’m happy I was able to get a win over you,” Auger-Aliassime said. “You’re such a great player, so keep going like this and good luck to you and your team for the rest of the year.”
Auger-Aliassime earned his first service break at 3-2 in the first set, hitting a stunning forehand passing shot up the line to secure the lead. The three-time ATP Tour titlist did not relinquish control of the match after that.
The 22-year-old controlled his service games with his big serving, but he also changed the rhythm well with timely drop shots. Korda, who was trying to claim his second ATP Tour title, struggled to consistently put his opponent under pressure.
The American earned his biggest opportunity at 2-1 in the second set, when he held two break points at 15/40. Korda was not able to convert those opportunities, and Auger-Aliassime not only held his serve in that game, but broke his opponent’s in the next.
Auger-Aliassime finished his victory in style, holding to love before unleashing a big roar in celebration as his team stood and applauded their man’s effort. Both Auger-Aliassime and Korda will travel to Basel, where they will compete in the ATP 500 event.
Korda was unable to lift the trophy, but he will take confidence from advancing to consecutive finals in Gijon (l. to Rublev) and Antwerp.
“Back to back finals is a great achievement,” Korda said during the trophy ceremony. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get it done today, but we’ll be back in the next coming weeks and hopefully we [will] go one step further.”
Did You Know?
Auger-Aliassime lost his first eight ATP Tour finals, but has since won three of four championship matches, with all three of his victories coming in straight sets.