Auger-Aliassime falls to Lopez in semifinals of Queen’s Club

Felix Auger-Aliassime, of Canada. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

LONDON — Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime fell just short of reaching his fourth ATP final of the season, losing in three sets to veteran Feliciano Lopez on Saturday in the semifinals of the Queen’s Club tournament.

Lopez dropped the first set in a tiebreak before rallying for a 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4 win to advance to the final of the ATP 500 grass-court tournament.

Auger-Aliassime saved four match points in the third set to trim his deficit to 5-4, but Lopez replied with a quick service game to seal it.

Lopez will face France’s Gilles Simon for the title Sunday.

The Spaniard converted on just 2-of-10 break points on the Montreal teen throughout the match, which lasted two hours 19 minutes, but saved all eight of his own break points.

Auger-Aliassime hit 25 aces compared to Lopez’s 15 and will have to wait before cracking the top 20 in the rankings. A win would have been enough for the Canadian, who is a career-high No. 21.

The players held serve throughout the first set before Auger-Aliassime earned a mini break in the tiebreaker to go up 4-2. He then hit the winning point with Lopez skidding and tumbling across the court. Lopez took a 3-0 lead after an early break in the second set, and broke Auger-Aliassime at 3-2 in the third.

Auger-Aliassime made the finals of the Stuttgart Open last weekend in Germany — also on grass — before losing 6-4, 7-6 (11) to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.

The young rising star previously reached championship matches in Rio de Janeiro in February and the Lyon Open in May, both on clay.

Auger-Aliassime skipped last year’s ATP grass season to play in Challenger Tour events on clay.

Queen’s Club was the 18-year-old’s second grass tournament, and second tournament overall, since returning from a left abductor problem that forced him to miss the French Open.

Saturday’s loss dropped Auger-Aliassime to 23-14 this season while Lopez improved to 4-8.

Lopez, ranked 113th in the world, was a wild-card entry at Queen’s Club. He also played doubles with former world No. 1 Andy Murray, who was making his return from hip surgery in January.

Auger-Aliassime upset world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals on Friday to earn his spot in the semis. Lopez advanced to the semifinals by edging Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., on Friday.

Saturday’s match saw the biggest age differential in an ATP semifinal or final since the 43-year-old Ken Rosewall defeated 23-year-old American Pat Dupre to reach the Hong Kong Grand Prix final in 1977.

Lopez turned pro in 1997, three years before Auger-Aliassime was born.

Simon earlier defeated the fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3 in 2 hours, 37 minutes.

Lopez has won five of their seven meetings and all four of their matches on grass.

Auger-Aliassime was ranked No. 108 on Dec. 31, and has enjoyed a steady climb up the leaderboard since. He jumped from 104 to 60 after his title appearance in the ATP 500-level Rio Open in February. He also earned 376 points from a semifinal appearance at the Masters 1000 event in Miami in March.

— With files from The Associated Press

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