Felix Survives, Reaches Round 2
The 21-year-old arrived in Melbourne in form after he helped guide Team Canada to the ATP Cup title in Sydney earlier this month. However, the eight-time tour-level titlist was tested to the limit against Ruusuvuori, but found a way through, hitting 26 winners to triumph after three hours and 43 minutes in their first ATPHead2Head meeting.
“It was not easy today,” Auger-Aliassime said in his post-match press conference. “Dealing with different conditions than what we've had the past few days, quite cold, windy as well. I think there was a part of adapting to that. My opponent played a great match. I always really thought highly of him. He made me analyse and rethink what I was doing many times in the match because he was playing well.
“In the middle of the match, [I was] just not quite finding the right way to play. Then I think I loosened up a little bit starting from the fourth set, just started serving better, was making him move a little bit more and at the end that's it. It's important for my confidence.”
Auger-Aliassime is making his third appearance in Melbourne, with his best result at a major coming at the US Open last year when he enjoyed a run to the semi-finals. The World No. 9, who fired eight aces in his first-round win against the Finn, will next meet Australian wild card Alex Bolt or Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
The 31-year-old is now 6-1 on the season after he earned three victories for Great Britain at ATP Cup and advanced to the semi-finals at the Sydney Tennis Classic. Evans will play Australian Alexei Popyrin or Adelaide International 2 finalist Arthur Rinderknech in the second round.