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Auger-Aliassime squeaks into Montpellier quarters with win over Cazaux

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MONTPELLIER, France — Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced to the quarterfinals of the Open Sud de France tennis tournament with a razor-thin 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (4) win over local favourite Arthur Cazaux on Thursday.

Montreal's Auger-Aliassime, seeded third in Montpellier, was uncharacteristically second-best in the service game.

Cazaux had 12 aces to six for Auger-Aliassime, and the Canadian committed seven double-faults compared to two for the young Frenchman.

The 21-year-old Cazaux, who was born in Montpellier, was also the more opportunistic player, breaking Auger-Aliassime five times on six chances. Auger-Aliassime scored four breaks on 10 opportunities.

But Auger-Aliassime scored a huge break in the third set to come back from a 5-3 deficit and win the match.

"It was a crazy match,” Auger-Aliassime said. "Arthur came up with the goods and he served and played amazing when he needed to. I was playing great tennis and then he raised his level. He played an unbelievable game to break me in the second.

"I had to stay calm and just find a way to stay in the match and give myself a chance. You have to stay focused, composed and not let the emotions get the best of you. I think I did that well today."

The 23-year-old Auger-Aliassime, ranked 30th in the world, will face French wild-card Harold Mayot, ranked 144th on the ATP Tour, in the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 indoor tournament.

He advanced to the third round of a tournament for the first time this season after losing in the round-of-16 in Auckland and the second round of the Australian Open.

The 21-year-old Cazaux is set to enter the top-80 of the ATP rankings after he won his opening match over Maximilian Marterer in Montpellier.

He is coming off a successful debut at the Australian Open, where he advanced to the fourth round and upset No. 8 Holger Rune in the second round.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2024.