19th February, 2022
Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his tenth ATP Tour final in Marseille on Saturday, beating the Russian Roman Safiullin, who saw off top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters.
The 21-year-old Canadian’s reward is another final match with Russian Andrey Rublev, who defeated French man Benjamin Bonzi in three sets.
Sunday’s final will be the second back-to-back tour-level finals between Rublev and Auger-Aliassime.
Both met in the Rotterdam Open final two weeks ago with Auger-Aliassime world number nine beating Rublev, to capture his maiden ATP Tour title.
The Canadian will be surely hoping for a second title.
On Saturday, he ended the breakout run of Roman Safiullin with a 7-6(4), 7-6(5) victory in the semi-finals of the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.
Safiullin more than played his part in a tense two-hour, 27-minute battle, but Auger-Aliassime’s quality shone through at crucial moments as the Canadian sealed his eighth consecutive win.
Some early nerves from Safiullin gave his opponent a break in the opening game of the match, but the Russian quickly settled and hit back after converting his sixth break point of a marathon sixth game.
After another quick exchange of breaks the qualifier drew near to the first set as he earned a 4/1 lead in the tie-break, but Auger-Aliassime strung together a series of big points to turn it around, winning six on the trot to take the first set.
A second set dominated by serve almost opened up for Auger-Aliassime in the eighth game.
The Russian showed more courage under pressure to save four break points and hold, but it was the World No. 9 who once again triumphed in the tie-break, Safiullun netting a forehand to send Auger-Aliassime into his tenth ATP Tour final.