Félix Auger-Aliassime progresses in frustration
A relieved but dissatisfied Félix Auger-Aliassime savored victory in his first match in the men's singles draw at the Indian Wells tournament on Saturday.
The Quebecer overcame the Spaniard Pedro Martinez, 120th racket in the world, after a battle of nearly 2 hours 30 minutes. “FAA” won in two sets of 7-6 (5) and 6-4.
Recognized for his Olympian calm, the 22-year-old athlete showed several signs of frustration during the duel. If he posted much better statistics than his rival in service reception, Auger-Aliassime nevertheless committed 25 unforced errors. He was also only successful on 49% of his first serve attempts.
From the first game of the match, Martinez offered his only break point of the game… and he took advantage of it. Struggling to return the favor, the Quebecer stole his rival's serve when he was serving for the set, at 5-4. He then had the upper hand in a hard-fought tiebreaker.
“FAA” was sorely lacking in opportunism in the duel. He only converted two of his 17 break points. He still managed to take advantage of his second match point to close the books.
Looking for a first appearance in a final this year, Auger-Aliassime will face the winner of the duel between Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo, seeded 27, and American Jack Sock in the third round.
The Quebecer will also continue his adventure in doubles alongside Denis Shapovalov on Sunday against Cameron Norrie and Lucas Miedler.
As for the women, Leylah Fernandez is easily emerged victorious from her duel against the qualified American Emma Navarro.
After taking advantage of a bye in the first round, the young Quebecer did not miss her entry into Indian Wells. She got rid of the 128th player in the world in two sets of 6-2 and 6-4.
Fernandez was dominant in the first set, scoring two breaks and winning 73% of rallies when she placed her first service ball in play. It was more complicated in the second set.
Escaped the first three games of the set, the Montrealer had to roll up her sleeves. She responded by taking a 4-3 lead, then ended Navarro's tournament on her first match point.
Fernandez will face the winner of the duel between France's Caroline Garcia (5th) and Hungarian Dalma Galfi in the third round.