NEW YORK — Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is off to the quarterfinals at the US Open afor the first time by getting past Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime — with the help of 24 aces in the match — bounced back after dropping the first set, took command in the second before narrowly winning a hard-fought third set that went to a tiebreak. A relatively smooth fourth set against a relentless Tiafoe sealed the victory. The match lasted three hours 28 minutes.
At 21 years old, the Canadian became the youngest man to reach consecutive major quarterfinals since Juan Martin del Potro made it to three straight in 2008-09. Auger-Aliassime lost in the quarterfinal at Wimbledon in July.
He will now face unseeded 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain on Tuesday.
“At some point, age is just a number,” Auger-Aliassime when asked about Alcaraz. “He already feels like a player that is established.”
In the evening session, Auger-Aliassime had a rocky start to his encounter. He was broken in the very first game by the 50th-ranked Tiafoe en route to a first-set loss where he committed four double faults.
It's not like the Canadian didn't have chances, though. He failed to convert on eight break-point opportunities in the first set alone, with the 23-year-old Tiafoe getting the better of him each time.
But Auger-Aliassime easily won the second set, bolstered by nine straight points to break the American's serve and go up 4-2. He broke Tiafoe again on set point.
The chances to take control were there again in the third. Up 5-4, Auger-Aliassime twice failed to convert on break point to win the set. Up 6-5, Tiafoe fought off yet another break point.
Auger-Aliassime converted just 3-of-15 break opportunities in the tennis match.
In the tiebreak, it was the young Canadian's turn to overcame set point. Down 6-5, Auger-Aliassime won three straight points to the dismay of the once raucous Arthur Ashe crowd.
Auger-Aliassime used that momentum and broke Tiafoe to start the fourth set. He held serve throughout and sent a forehand winner out of Tiafoe's reach on the final point to secure his spot in the Grand Slam quarterfinal.
The Canadian and American hugged at the net after the match.