Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime ousted in second round in Paris

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime returns a shot to Australia's Max Purcell during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men's singles first round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo. (Tiziana Fabi/Getty Images)

Felix Auger-Aliassime is out of the running for a spot in the year-end ATP Finals after the Canadian lost 6-3, 7-5 to German lucky loser Dominik Koepfer in the second round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday.

The ninth-seeded Auger-Aliassime, from Montreal, struggled with his serve, winning only 35 per cent of points on his second serve while also recording eight double faults.

Kopefer finished the match with his fourth break on Auger-Aliassime.

Koepfer, who saved seven match points against Andy Murray in the previous round, broke Auger-Aliassime twice in each set, winning seven straight games to take a 3-0 lead in the second.

“Very disappointing. I should have done much better,” Auger-Aliassime said. “He played very well, but I fought against myself at some times.”

Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini have already qualified for the ATP Finals. Auger-Aliassime was one of several players bidding for one of the last two spots.

Meanwhile, an injured Tsitsipas retired from his second-round match at the Paris Masters while trailing 4-2 against Australian opponent Alexei Popyrin on Wednesday.

The third-seeded Greek leads the ATP Tour with 55 wins this year and was playing his 73rd singles match. However, his form has declined since he reached the French Open final, losing in the third round of the U.S. Open in September and in the second round in Vienna last week.

“I haven’t retired once in my life, and it was something that I had to do today,” Tsitsipas said. “Also I’m trying to be precautious for the next tournament, which is the most important one for me.”

Tsitipas declined to say what was bothering him on Wednesday but he clutched his right arm several times during the match.

“I have had an issue there for quite a while now,” Tsitsipas said. “It has gotten bigger in the last couple of weeks, so I’m just trying to protect it. I felt the pain playing in the match, and I just don’t want for it to get worse than it is now.”

Earlier, Taylor Fritz saved the only break point he faced and converted the only break point he earned to upset fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev 7-5, 7-6 (2).

Fritz broke his Russian opponent in the final game of the first set and then saved a break point at 1-1 in the second.

The American, ranked 26th in the world, has been playing well in recent weeks. He beat Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells last month and reached the final of the St. Petersburg Open last week. Rublev defeated Fritz 6-3, 6-1 in Dubai earlier this year.

Auger-Aliassime and Pablo Carreno Busta both dropped out of contention for the ATP Finals by losing in the second round, but seventh-seeded Hubert Hurkacz and No. 10 Cameron Norrie stayed in the race with victories.

The 12th-seeded Carreno Busta was beaten by French qualifier Hugo Gaston 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5.

Hurkacz beat American qualifier Tommy Paul 7-5, 7-6 (4) while Norrie defeated Toronto runner-up Reilly Opelka 6-3, 6-4.

Also Wednesday, 16th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov rallied past 2018 Paris Masters champion Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 and James Duckworth beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

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