Felix Auger-Aliassime overcame a slow start and a rain delay before he saw off Marton Fucsovics in the opening round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Monday. The pair had split two previous ATP Head2Head encounters but it was the 12th seed who claimed the latest clash 7-6(0), 6-3.
Having broken for 3- 2 in the opening set, Fucsovics held a set point at 5-4 only to be broken. The Hungarian stared down a set point two games later. But after forcing the tie-break he was unable to make any inroads as the Canadian reeled off seven straight points for the set.
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Following a rain delay early in the second set, it was all Auger-Aliassime as he broke three straight times to secure the match. He finished with 23 winners – 13 of those off his forehand – and won 68 per cent of first-serve points.
Following a red-hot run on grass, in which he reached his eighth ATP Tour final in Stuttgart, a semi-final in Halle and a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon, the Canadian has suffered early exits at his first two stops on the North American hard-court swing. He fell to Jenson Brooksby in the second round in Washington, D.C. and in the first round to Dusan Lajovic on home soil at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto last week.
Auger-Aliassime awaits the winner of Karen Khachanov and Kevin Anderson for a place in the Round of 16 in Cincinnati. He lost his only previous ATP Head2Head clash with Khachanov two years ago in Toronto and has yet to face Anderson.