MIAMI, March 28, 2019 (by Sharada Rajagopalan)
Wednesday’s men’s singles action at the Miami Open presented by Itaú began with Roger Federer and ended with Félix Auger-Aliassime. The two players, who not only share a common birthday but also currently embody the polarity of the age spectrum in tennis, showed distinct finesse in coming through their respective matches.
Federer, whose fourth round match against Daniil Medvedev had to be pushed back by a day to Wednesday, started off the day in fine fashion. He was imperious in his 6-4, 6-2 win against the Russian, who had no counters to the Swiss. Federer faced three break points, while serving for the opening set at 5-4 but saved the lot to take the lead in the match.
The second set was way more one-sided in Federer’s favour as he rode into the quarter-finals after merely spending 61 minutes on the court. Asserting as Federer’s tactical mien was, it was his break point conversion that made jaws droop as for a change. The 20-time Grand Slam champion capitalized on all of his three break point chances, adding to the solidity of his win.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 27. März 2019
Auger-Aliassime into the final four
If Federer showed everyone what he could do at 37-going-on-38, Auger-Aliassime showed what he was capable of at 18. The Canadian defeated Borna Coric 7-6, 6-2 to reach his first Masters 1000 semi-final.
“Playing Borna, who’s been established for a few years now, I definitely didn’t expect to win,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I expected more, a set like in the first. But the second really surprised me. I felt like I had margin over him, had a bit of an edge. I just felt really comfortable out there from the first balls.”
This win also meant that the teenager has now won all five matches he has played against players ranked in the top-20 of the ATP rankings. As remarkable as this feat is, what adds to its significance is that none among Federer (one win, four losses), Rafael Nadal (two wins, three losses) and Novak Djokovic (one win, four losses), managed to keep a clean-sheet against top-20 opponents in their first five matches against them.
✅ Youngest to reach #MiamiOpen SF
✅ 5-0 career record v top 20 players
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 28. März 2019
Auger-Aliassime’s win also marked an important notation in the tournament’s history as he became the Miami Open’s youngest-ever semi-finalist in its 35-year history.
“It’s a privilege to be compared to all these great players. I think it just shows that I’m doing good things, I’m on the right track,” Auger-Aliassime stated.
On Friday, when he takes on defending champion John Isner, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in their quarter-final on Wednesday 7-6(1), 7-6(5). Auger-Aliassime will get another stab at making history by becoming the youngest finalist at the event, with a chance to break Djokovic’s record of being the youngest champion.
Truly, youngsters are on the march in men’s tennisdom.