Felix Fends Off Giron In Halle
It was a bumpy ride, but Felix Auger-Aliassime found a way to get the job done on Tuesday at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle.
The fourth seed was dominant in the early stages before overcoming a second-set lapse to clinch a hard-fought 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 first-round victory against Marcos Giron at the ATP 500 event in north-west Germany.
Both previous tour-level meetings between Auger-Aliassime and Giron had ended with a 6-3, 6-2 scoreline in favour of the Canadian, the first of which took place in Halle at the quarter-final stage last year. Despite a lapse in Auger-Aliassime’s level in the second set, the World No. 9’s weapons again proved too much for the 28-year-old Giron as he broke the American’s serve five times in a two-hour, 13-minute victory.
“I just lost my focus a little bit,” said Auger-Aliassime after the match. “I think his belief came back a little bit in the second, he started hitting some good shots and serving much better. Things got a little bit tricky and difficult for me, so at the end it’s great that I was able to find a way to win.”
Auger-Aliassime reached the semi-finals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch last week and Tuesday’s win over Giron improved the Canadian’s career record on grass to 21-7. Possessing a big serve and an ability to hit clean winners that make him a potent threat on the surface, the 2021 semi-finalist will be optimistic of another deep run in Halle as he chases a second title of the season.
Auger-Aliassime found his rhythm early in his third tour-level meeting with the American. The fourth seed was strong on serve and consistent from the baseline as he fired 12 winners in the first set, including four aces. That dominance behind his delivery allowed him to strike freely in return games, and the Canadian broke Giron in the fifth and ninth games to ease to the opening set.
FOLLOW THIS WEEK'S ACTION
📺 TV Schedule
🎾 Watch Live On Tennis TV
📱 Follow Live Scores On ATP WTA Live
📧 Sign Up For Newsletters
The World No. 9’s extra power continued to penetrate the Giron serve in the second set. Auger-Aliassime broke in the fourth and sixth games, but the No. 60-ranked Giron showed resilience to respond with an immediate break of his own on both occasions. The American continued to capitalise as his opponent’s level dropped to clinch a third crucial break for 6-5, before serving out to level the match and complete an unlikely turnaround of momentum.
With Auger-Aliassime immediately falling to 0/40 on his own serve at the start of the decider, the match was on a knife-edge, but the situation appeared to awaken the Canadian. He recovered to hold and then broke crucially in the sixth game before staying solid to improve his ATP Head2Head series lead over Giron to 3-0.
“I had pretty negative thoughts at the end of that second set," said Auger-Aliassime. "To be honest I don’t usually lose these types of sets, when I break twice. It’s not something usual for me on this surface especially. I just had to change my thoughts, trick my mind a little bit and think, OK, there is a third set to play, I haven’t lost yet and I am still on the court, so let’s try to think positive.”
Auger-Aliassime’s next opponent on the grass in Halle is another American, Mackenzie McDonald, who defeated Swiss wild card Marc-Andrea Huesler 7-6(4), 6-4 on Monday.