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Auger-Aliassime advances to Madrid quarters with impressive win over Ruud


MADRID — Montreal's Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced to the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open Masters-level tennis tournament Tuesday with an impressive 6-4, 7-5 win over fifth seed Casper Ruud of Norway.

Auger-Aliassime won 78 per cent of first serve points and broke Ruud three times on eight changes, giving only one of those breaks back.

The Canadian picked up a crucial break to go up 6-5 in the second set when his backhand on break point led to a Ruud forced error.

Serving for the match, he came up to the net and smashed a forehand winner on match point to advance to the Madrid quarterfinals for the second time in his career.

Auger-Aliassime is now 2-3 all-time against Ruud at the ATP level. He hadn't beaten the Norwegian since the Round of 16 of the 2019 Miami Masters.

Auger-Aliassime, a former world No. 6 who entered the tournament ranked 35th, has looked like his old self in Madrid after a tepid start to the season. The Montrealer entered the tournament with a pedestrian 11-10 record on the year, but hasn't dropped a set in Madrid since the opening of his first-round match against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka.

It's also the first tournament this year where Auger-Aliassime has won more than two matches. He improved his career record on clay to 39-33.

Auger-Aliassime will face top seed Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals. The Italian recovered from dropping the first set to beat 16th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.

The 23-year-old Canadian has won both his previous matches against Sinner, including a Round of 16 matchup in Madrid in 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.