Five takeaways from Felix Auger-Aliassime's Rogers Cup debut

by: Nina Pantic | August 09, 2018

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WATCH —Match point from Medvedev's win over Auger-Aliassime in Toronto:

TORONTO—There's a new young face on tour, and you're going to want to learn to pronounce his name correctly. Felix Auger-Aliassime lost a heartbreaking, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7) third-round match  to Daniil Medvedev, but he left quite the impression at the Rogers Cup. 

The 18-year-old Canadian should have celebrated his birthday by defeating the world No. 66. He looked well on his way to doing that, but things got trickier in the second, and his powerful strokes became less effective as Medvedev turned into a backboard. Undeterred, Auger-Aliassime secured a break in the third, but took his foot off the gas. He then had a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak, but that also slipped away, marking a tough end to his 18th birthday. 

"I missed a couple points to deliver. And that's just very frustrating because that's not the way I thought it was going to finish," Auger-Aliassime said. "So it's very disappointing."

Despite the loss, expect to see a lot more from Auger-Aliassime, and soon. For those still catching up, here's a few things to know about the world No. 133. 

1) He's in the history books already

The teenager became the youngest player to qualify for an ATP Challenger tournament back in 2015, the same year he also became the youngest player to win an ATP Challenger main-draw match (at 14 years, 11 months). He became the youngest player ever to successfully defend an ATP Challenger title when he won Lyon earlier this year. 

2) He can hang with the big kids

On Tuesday, Auger-Aliassime defeated world No. 18 Lucas Pouille in straight sets for his first career Top-20 win. It was also the teen's Rogers Cup debut. Standing a tall 6’3”, he has a booming serve that gives him some freedom to go bigger on return games. He’s also not afraid to come into the net, though he mostly looks to hit through players using his power and athletic court coverage. 

3) He shares a birthday with his idol

The youngster celebrated his 18th birthday on Wednesday. August 8 also happens to be Roger Federer's birthday, who is 19 years his senior. The Swiss is, understandably, Auger-Aliassime's idol. 

WATCH —Tennis Channel Live reacts to Auger-Aliassime's second-round loss:

4) His name is challenging, but do-able 

Auger-Aliassime was born in Montreal, as was his older sister Malika. His father hails from Togo, while his mom is from Quebec. His name is not pronounced how you probably imagine it is.  

"So my dad is an African immigrant. And when my parents arrived in Montreal, I was born and they decided to give me both names," Auger-Aliassime said in Toronto. "It doesn't really matter if people mispronounce. 

"But, yeah, it's "Au-shay Alia-sim" for everyone in this room."

5) A fellow Canadian rising star is his best friend 

Auger-Aliassime is close with 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov, who has made his way to the round of 16 of the Rogers Cup. The two have been lighting up the home crowds in Toronto all week long. 

"I think we're at the 70th day of a Snapchat streak, so that's pretty much, like, how much we talk," Auger-Aliassime said. "But he's a great friend of mine, one of my best friends on tour."

Shapovalov faces Robin Haase on Thursday, while Auger-Aliassime will rise to a career-high ranking of No. 119 come Monday. 

ATP Toronto
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev headline the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Watch live coverage from four courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, August 6th at 11:00 A.M.

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