Auger-Aliassime Ousts 10-Time Halle Champion Federer

Felix Auger-Aliassime (photo: NOVENTI OPEN/Mathias Schulz)

HALLE/STARNBERG, June 16, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime, who shares a birthday on 8 August with his idol Roger Federer, knocked out the Swiss maestro in the second round of the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle, Westphalia, Germany.

In the pair’s first meeting, the 20-year-old Canadian came back from a set down to secure a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon. Auger-Aliassime, who began his grass-court season campaign last week in Stuttgart by reaching the final of the MercedesCup, broke Federer’s serve three times to prevail after one hour and 44 minutes.

“In the first set, I didn’t think I could have played much better outside of just missing one forehand in my service game and then he hit two amazing passing shots and I was just like ‘Whoa’. I understand how good he is and how good he was when he was No. 1 in the world, so it was tough,” Auger-Aliassime said after his fourth Top 10 victory.

“It’s a great victory, it’s good for my confidence. It was already a great challenge for me to play a player like Roger, but to beat him, it’s a great thing. It makes me really happy. But at the end, it’s the quarter-finals in two days. 

“If it was the final, then I’d be really happy… it’s another step in the tournament, it’s a great match, so hopefully I can keep on going like that.”

The World No. 21 will next take on Marcos Giron. The US-American qualifier battled past Jan-Lennard Struff from Germany 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-4 after one hour and 38 minutes to get through to his second quarterfinal on the ATP Tour, and first at 500 level.

Fifth seed Federer was seeking his 70th match win in Halle and his 18th quarterfinal at this event in as many appearances.

“It was an up and down. The first set was good, the second set was okay. But the third set was bad, I can’t accept that from myself,” said Federer. “I think the whole difficulty of the comeback got to me as well a little bit, how much I have to push on every point, try to make things happen.”

Kohlschreiber back in a quarterfinal, faces Rublev

Earlier in the day, German wild card entry Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated Corentin Moutet of France 6-4, 7-6(4) to set a quarterfinal clash with No. 4 seed Andrey Rublev. The 23-year-old Russian eased past Jordan Thompson from Australia 6-4, 6-4.

“I’m mega happy with my matches so far,” said Kohlschreiber. “Halle is really an absolute oasis of well-being for me. I have often played my best, most successful tennis here.”

The 37-year-old Augsburg native advanced to the stage of the last eight on the ATP Tour for the first time since the 2019 BMW Open. Kohlschreiber had taken a longer break in the difficult 2020 season, but finally got back on track. “I’m very satisfied with the progress I’ve made recently,” he said.