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Felix Auger-Aliassime to face in-form Gael Monfils in bid for first ATP Tour title

By Chris Myson

Rotterdam, February 16: Felix Auger-Aliassime will meet in-form defending champion Gael Monfils in the Rotterdam Open final after both players won their last-four encounters in straight sets.

Canadian teenager Auger-Aliassime will be seeking his first ATP Tour title after losing all three of his showpiece matches in his breakout campaign last year.

He sealed his place in the final with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta in a contest lasting one hour and 49 minutes on Saturday (February 15).

Unseeded Auger-Aliassime sent down 16 aces, one of which came on match point, and lost only three of his 48 points on first serve, saving all of the four break points he faced in an impressive outing.

"I was serving the best I've ever served in that first set and then played a solid tie-break," he said after reaching his first final on a hard court.

"In the second set, things got interesting with that long third game [when Auger-Aliassime broke]. I was thinking, 'If this goes my way, it might be tough for him'. So, I really pushed to get through."

Monfils is eyeing back-to-back triumphs, having come into this tournament after winning the Open Sud de France on home soil last week.

He defeated Filip Krajinovic in the semi-finals there and repeated the trick against the Serbian this time, winning 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in a display that saw him hit 35 winners.

"It would be great [to win this title again]," said the Frenchman, who like Auger-Aliassime sealed his victory with an ace.

"It would be unbelievable. It would be the first time to win two titles in a row and actually even the first time to win two titles in the same season, so it would be huge for me."

Monfils, who only gave up one break point against Krajinovic, has never played Auger-Aliassime before.

"Felix is a great guy, a humble guy," said Monfils.

"He is very strong, very talented guy. Definitely, I expect a tough match, but a cool match because I think we might see him for a long time in this stage of tournaments."

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Story first published: Sunday, February 16, 2020, 4:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 16, 2020
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