Felix Soars Past Giron To Reach Halle SF

#NextGenATP Canadian to next face Humbert

Felix Auger-Aliasssime needed just 59 minutes to power past American qualifier Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2 on Friday and book a spot into the NOVENTI OPEN semi-finals.

The 20-year-old Canadian continued his grass-swing momentum in Halle, where he arrived high on confidence after reaching the final in Stuttgart (l. to Cilic). Auger-Aliassime improved to 20-12 on the season after reaching his third semi-final of the year (also Melbourne 2).

“I’ve been playing well these past two weeks, believing in myself a lot and dominating my service games,” Auger-Aliassime said. “As soon as I got the break [in the first set], I feel like I loosened up and things were just going better and better. 

“I don’t think Marcos played his best match, I’ve seen him play great matches before and beat Top 10 opponents... but in the end, I think I was able to put a lot of pressure on him and dictate the points. So I can be happy with my performance.”

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Auger-Aliassime had to hit reset and refocus after achieving one of the biggest wins of his career in the last round, when he came back from a set down to upset Roger Federer, his childhood idol and a 10-time Halle champion.

“The main goal was to refocus. I received a lot of messages and attention, and those kinds of things can be tricky,” he admitted. “They can take you out of your ‘zone’ and your focus on the tournament. 

“And maybe the outside doesn’t understand that as much, because even though it looks like I’ve won ‘easy’, I still have to come out and play good tennis and a good match. I think I made a good effort, stayed in my zone, and came out and played great again.”

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Auger-Aliassime fired 25 winners and just seven unforced errors across two sets against qualifier Giron, who was seeking a place in his first tour-level semi-final. The Canadian’s big serve helped him take control of the rallies and shut down Giron’s chances, winning 93 per cent (28/30) of points behind his first serves. 

Auger-Aliassime saved the only break point he faced at 2-2 in the opening set, and never looked back as he raced to a break of his own in the next game to lead 4-2. He dropped just one point behind his serve in a dominant second set, taking the lead with a double break. The Canadian fired his 14th ace of the match to set up match point, and backed it up with a powerful unreturned serve to seal the victory. 

He will next face French lefty Ugo Humbert, who continued his great run in Halle with a 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 victory over #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda.

"This is my favourite surface, but it was really tough today" Humbert said. "Sebastian played amazing, he is a really great player with a great attitude. It was very tough, but it is a nice victory... a very great battle."

Humbert had to overcome some big names to book his spot into his second career tour-level grass-court semi-final (also 2019 Newport), taking down Sam Querrey in his opening match before toppling third seed Alexander Zverev in three sets. 

He was in for a battle against 20-year-old Korda, who was competing at the first tour-level grass-court event of his career. Humbert dictated play in the first set with his backhand, but had to contend with the big-hitting American’s firepower in the second as Korda found his footing. 

Humbert saved a set point at 5-4 as he took them into a tie-break, and was two points away from clinching the victory after working his way to 5/5. But Korda powered through, taking the set as Humbert pushed a forehand long. 

Korda struck 28 winners and 25 unforced errors throughout the match – 15 of those errors came off the forehand side, and three came in the last game of the match as the American served to stay in the match. Humbert and Korda had been locked on serve through the third set. But as the Frenchman applied the pressure on the Korda forehand wing the cracks began to show and an error into the net sealed his spot into his first ATP 500 semi-final.

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