NEW YORK, September 11, 2016
Canada went 1-1 in singles at the Junior US Open on Saturday, as Felix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal) is now one win away from clinching his first Grand Slam singles title thanks to a semi-final triumph, while Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, Ont.) was unable to join him with a three-set loss in the girls’ draw.
Auger-Aliassime took on junior world No. 1 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and ousted the 18-year-old 6-4, 7-5. In the match, which lasted one hour and 45 minutes on another stifling day in New York, No. 6 seed Auger-Aliassime blasted nine aces and 32 winners, and saved three of the five break points he faced.
“I am playing at my best level right now,” the Canadian teenager stated afterwards.
He will now play in his second career Slam singles final. He competed in the Junior French Open final as a 15-year-old this spring, holding three match points before being overcome by his opponent. Now 16, he will look for a different result on Sunday against No. 5-seeded Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia. It will be their first-ever meeting.
Auger-Aliassime is trying to become just the fourth Canadian to win a junior Grand Slam singles title, following in the footsteps of Eugenie Bouchard (2012 Wimbledon), Filip Peliwo (2012 Wimbledon and US Open), and Denis Shapovalov (2016 Wimbledon). Should he succeed, it will also mark the second straight Slam that a Canadian has won the boys’ title after his fellow next generation star Shapovalov won in London two months ago.
Andreescu just missed out on making it a Canadian boy and girl in the finals, as she lost to US-American Kayla Day 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in a tough semifinal battle. Under the extreme heat, No. 7-seeded Andreescu didn’t play up to her best level in the second and third sets, falling to the world No. 5 in just over two hours. Despite the loss, the US Open still marks the 16-year-old’s best performance at a Slam in her young career so far, and the first time a Canadian girl has made it this deep at a major since Bouchard in 2012.
Auger-Aliassime and Sigouin ousted in doubles final
Canada was also going for its second consecutive boys’ doubles crown at the Junior US Open on Saturday, but Auger-Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin (Vancouver) couldn’t overcome Bolivian-Brazilian team Juan Carlos Manuel Aguilar and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves and lost 6-3, 7-6(4).
In 2015, it was Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov who came home with the trophy. That duo also made the final at this year’s Wimbledon but were bested by their opponents at the end. For 17-year-old Sigouin, this was his first career Slam final, in singles or doubles.