Auger-Aliassime beats top-seeded Tsitsipas to win first title

Felix Auger-Aliassime won his first career title at the ninth attempt, upsetting top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2 in the Rotterdam final on Sunday to deny his opponent an eighth title.

Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada celebrates winning against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in two sets, 6-4, 6-2, in in the Rotterdam final.   -  AP

Felix Auger-Aliassime won his first career title at the ninth attempt, upsetting top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2 in the Rotterdam final on Sunday to deny his opponent an eighth title.

Victory came as a relief for the 21-year-old Canadian after losing his previous eight finals dating back to 2019.

The third-seeded Auger-Aliassime hit seven aces and won 93 percent of his first serve points, compared to just one ace for Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas fights back to reach Rotterdam final  

The big-serving Greek was unusually poor on his serve with four double-faults and only 31 of 55 first serves landing in. His second serve let him down, too, and he won only 33 percent of points on it.

It was Auger-Aliassime's third win in eight matches against Tsitsipas, and he did not face a break point in a dominant performance where he broke Tsitsipas three times.

The 23-year-old Tsitsipas dropped to 7-11 in finals.

'More mature' Auger-Aliassime vows to keep moving forward

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime hailed his maiden ATP Tour triumph in Rotterdam on Sunday as a "dream come true", saying he's confident it will prove a breakthrough moment in his career.

The 21-year-old Canadian has been tipped as a future Grand Slam winner since he turned professional in 2017, and reached a career-high world ranking of ninth in early January, but before Sunday had no Tour-level trophies in his cabinet.

"It is a big relief. I had doubts, fears at times and I stressed," said Auger-Aliassime, who added Rafael Nadal's uncle Toni to his coaching set-up last year.

"But it is now a big relief about not having to hear about these (lost) finals any more," he told reporters.

"Now I can play even more freely when it comes to the last matches in the tournament."

With his mother watching from the stands, Auger-Aliassime put in an emphatic performance to take down the 23-year-old Tsitsipas, ranked fourth in the world.

"It is a dream come true," Auger-Aliassime said. "To be able to serve that well and dominate, it was a special match and one I will remember for a long time.

"It is something I have been thinking about and finally the day comes. It is the most special day of my career."

Auger-Aliassime has made a strong start to 2022, helping Canada win the men's season-opening ATP Cup before reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open. He already has a tour-leading 12 victories in the year.

"This year I feel more mature. I feel I am a better player than in the years before when I was playing those finals," Auger-Aliassime added.

"I think I showed it today and proved it to myself and everybody and I think it is a good sign of what is to come. I am not going to stop here, with the possibility to keep proving myself and my worth."

(With inputs from Reuters)

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