Felix Auger Aliassime Ends The Long Wait To Win In Rotterdam
MDP Live - Felix Auger Aliassime has finally cracked the code to win the first ATP tournament title of his career at the 2022 Rotterdam Open.
In his ninth career ATP final at the Rotterdam Open, the third seed stepped up his game and handled the pressure well before beating first-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2 in 78 minutes.
The tennis player who beat defending champion Andrey Rublev in three sets for a place in the final of the ATP level 500 tournament, was relentlessly dominant from the start against Greece's Tsitsipas. He fired an aggressive groundstroke and targeted the world number 4's backhand from the baseline to cause a lethal effect before claiming the biggest win of his career.
"The road I've been on is not the smoothest since my first final three seasons ago," admits Auger Aliassime. "It's an amazing day for me to win my first title and especially here. I had my first ATP tournament here a few seasons ago, so it's very fitting that I won my first title here."
Prior to the Rotterdam Open final against Tsitsipas, the Canadian was 0-8 in the ATP finals and failed to win a set in all of them.
However, after defeats in the finals in Melbourne and Stuttgart last season, the third seed is showing signs that he is close to overcoming the hurdles in the final. He helped Canada win the ATP Cup in early January, before he reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open when he cornered Daniil Medvedev in five sets.
With this victory, the world number 9 reduced the head to head distance against Tsitsipas to 3-5. It was the first time he had beaten a world number 4 since the 2019 season when he beat him at Queen's Club.
“I have many wonderful memories playing here, in front of all of you, so thank you so much for making this week special for me, that I will remember for the rest of my life. This is the happiest day of my career and hopefully it will be the first of many titles," said Auger Aliassime.
In this season's Rotterdam Open final, Tsitsipas is eyeing an eighth career title and his first since last May when he won the title at Lyon and has yet to win an ATP level 500 title.
"He played a really good game, produced some really impressive shots and served convincingly throughout the match," Tsitsipas commented on Auger Aliassime. "I wasn't able to serve well this time. He played really well.”
Felix Auger Aliassime Returns Andy Murray From Rotterdam Open
MDP Live - Third seed Felix Auger Aliassime continued his path to winning the 2022 Rotterdam Open title with a convincing win.
The tennis player who reached the Rotterdam final in the 2020 season (lost to Gael Monfils), succeeded in overthrowing former world number 1 Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour 37 minutes for a place in the quarterfinals.
"From the start of the game, I was ready and focused. I think that's why I was able to produce a high level performance from the first point,” said Auger Aliassime, who is now 2-0 up in his head to head against Murray.
"He got me to the best of my ability and I feel really happy with the way I played and that I was able to stay ahead of him. To win it in straight sets is a huge relief."
The Canadian is making his fourth Rotterdam Open appearance this week and arrived in the Netherlands with his best finish to date at the Australian Open when he lost to Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals.
The 21-year-old displayed confidence throughout the match against Murray, including setting foot in the baseline area to send the 34-year-old sprinting from corner to corner with powerful strokes.
In a highly entertaining match, the Canadian started the first set 4-0, while the Briton struggled to overcome the consistent power and accuracy of the world number 9.
After claiming the first set, the two players exchanged break opportunities early in the second, before the world number 9 seized control by breaking Murray once again in the fifth game while displaying superb footwork to dictate the match with his forehand. The third seed also sealed the victory with a forehand volley.
Thanks to the win, eight-time runner-up Auger Aliassime is now 9-3 in 2022 after helping Canada win the ATP Cup earlier in January. Next, he will face sixth seed and Murray's compatriot Cameron Norrie for a place in the semifinals.
Murray won the Rotterdam Open title in 2009 and is looking to pick up a third win over a top 10 player in a row after beating Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner last season.
Andy Murray Feels Excellent, But Chooses to Skip Clay-Court Season
MDP Live - After sacrificing a lot to make an impressive comeback at the ATP tournament, Andy Murray has prepared what he needs to last as long as possible.
The former world number 1 has confirmed that he plans to skip 2022 clay-court tournaments, including the French Open, in order to give himself the best chance to do well this season.
Ahead of competing in the Rotterdam Open, the Briton cited previous experience as a reason to skip the clay-court tournament this season.
"In the season I lost to Felix Auger Aliassime at the 2020 US Open, I never really recovered from that match and the clay-court tournament made it worse," admits Murray.
"Then last season I had some problems at the start of the season, around the Miami Open and again, the clay-court tournaments didn't help me. I've had discussions with my team about it and this season, even though I'm feeling good and fit, I really don't want to take the risk.”
The tennis player who has won three Grand Slam titles still wants to compete on clay again, but he especially wants to get the best preparation for the grass-court season.
"It's not that I won't be able to play on clay again in the future. It's just that last season I really barely got to play on grass-court season and I'm so grateful I started feeling better right before Wimbledon. I will keep trying to compete during that period. I'm still going to do something, but that's my plan at the moment," said Murray.
"It gave me a chance to rest, recover, work on my fitness and not take any risks."
Meanwhile, a familiar opponent will help the Briton to his best at the Rotterdam Open when he faces a challenging first-round tie against 2022 Open Sud de France champion Alexander Bublik.
The Rotterdam Open will be Murray's fourth tournament of the 2022 season after he started in the Melbourne Summer Set. He was immediately eliminated from the first round against Facundo Bagnis. But he was lucky at the Sydney International having made it through to the final before losing to Aslan Karatsev. At the Australian Open, he was unable to maintain the momentum and only made it to the second round after losing to Taro Daniel.