Felix Pulls Off Another Upset
#NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is here to stay. The 18-year-old knocked out a seed in his opening-round match for the second week in a row on Wednesday, beating fifth seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo.
Auger-Aliassime beat Cuevas on Saturday in the Rio Open presented by Claro semi-finals to make his maiden ATP Tour final (l. to Djere). That run propelled him into the Top 100 and to where he sits today, at a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 60.
But the newfound expectations didn't affect Auger-Aliassime, who upset Cuevas, a three-time Brasil Open champion (2015-17), behind 12 aces and by saving four of five break points faced as the Brazilians cheered his victory.
“It's definitely my breakthrough of my career,” Auger-Aliassime said of his time in the South American country. “As a young guy, it's a big moment whenever you crack the Top 100, and now with the [crowd] support that I'm getting obviously I'm enjoying it more and more, and hopefully I can go far again this week.”
Auger-Aliassime will meet Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas for a place in the quarter-finals. Serbian Laslo Djere, the man who beat Auger-Aliassime in the Rio final, won his sixth match in a row, beating Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4. Djere will meet second seed Malek Jaziri of Tunisia for a quarter-final spot.
Elsewhere, Chile's Christian Garin made his first tour-level quarter-final by upsetting sixth seed Jaume Munar of Spain 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 7-6(2). Munar, who made the semi-finals at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals, saw 12 break points but converted only two.
The 22-year-old Garin, who won his first tour-level match six years ago, will play fourth seed Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. Mayer overcame a mid-match dip to beat Italy's Lorenzo Sonego 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Third seed Guido Pella won 90 per cent of his first-serve points (27/30) and beat 2018 Quito Open champion Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2, 6-4. Pella will meet countryman Marco Trungelliti, who beat Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-4, 7-5.