© Bildagentur Zolles

Felix Auger-Aliassime defeats Ricardas Berankis in straight sets to reach the second round in Vienna.

Felix's Earns Maiden Vienna Victory, Ruud Takes 50th Win Of 2021

Ruud claims important victory for Race hopes

The third time was the charm for Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Erste Bank Open.

The Canadian claimed his first win in Vienna on his third attempt when he defeated former junior World No. 1 Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday in one hour and 34 minutes. The sixth seed will next play Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie.

“I’ve always loved the city. The people here are very nice everywhere, so I’ve always enjoyed my time, but never played well,” Auger-Aliassime said in his on-court interview. “So this year I really wanted to get my first win and I did.”

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It was an important triumph for the 21-year-old’s hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals. Auger-Aliassime began the week in 12th place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, 625 points behind ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz, who currently occupies the final qualifying spot since Rafael Nadal’s season is over due to a foot injury. Hurkacz lost in the first round in Vienna against former World No. 1 Andy Murray.

Felix broke his opponent’s serve four times and saved two of the three break points he faced to snap a three-match losing streak. This was his first victory since he reached the US Open semi-finals last month.

His match against Norrie will be critical in the Race, as the Briton began the tournament in 11th place, 115 points behind Hurkacz. Norrie clawed past Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6(4), 6-1.

Casper Ruud, who is currently next in seventh place — making him next in line to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals — continued his impressive year with a 7-5, 7-6(2) victory against in-form South African Lloyd Harris.

The Norwegian's triumph was his 50th tour-level win of the season. Ruud (50-13) is now tied with Daniil Medvedev (50-11) for the second-most victories on the ATP Tour in 2021.

"This is the 50th win, so that shows it's been a very good year," Ruud said in his on-court interview. "In that way you don't really have too much time to think [that] you're tired, but obviously everyone will feel it, even more now [at] the end of the season.

"I know now it's the sprint of the Race in the end of the year. I know it's only a couple of weeks left, so I will try to still forget that I'm tired and keep on pushing."

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