Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime earns berth in Lyon Open semifinals

felix-auger-aliassime-plays-a-forehand

Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime plays a forehand. (David Vincent/AP)

LYON, France — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime is off to the semifinals at the Lyon Open.

The No. 4 seed from Montreal downed American Steve Johnson 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in a quarterfinal at the ATP Tour 250 clay-court event on Thursday.

The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime, ranked 28th in the world, had 11 aces and won 76 per cent of his points on first serve against the 59th-ranked Johnson.

Auger-Aliassime will face top seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in the semifinals on Friday.

The other semifinal pits France’s Benoit Paire against American Taylor Fritz in a battle of unseeded players.

Paire beat No. 3 seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4) in another quarterfinal on Thursday.

The loss ended an inconsistent European clay-court stretch before the French Open for Shapovalov.

The No. 3 seed from Richmond Hill, Ont., lost 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4) to French veteran Benoit Paire in a quarterfinal at the Lyon Open.

Ranked 23rd in the world, Shapovalov converted on just one of five break-point opportunities against Paire. The Canadian also was well behind on first-serve points won, converting on 65 per cent of his opportunities as compared to 80 per cent for world No. 51 Paire.

The 20-year-old Shapovalov is 2-5 on clay courts since advancing to the semifinals at the Miami Open, a hard-court ATP Masters 1000 event.

The French Open, the only Grand Slam played on clay, starts Sunday.

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