With the cancellation of the 2020 BNP Paribas Open, Tennis Channel is re-airing matches from previous Indian Wells tournaments. This match can be seen on Saturday, March 13.

This time last year Felix Auger-Aliassime was a fairly well known commodity in the tennis world. He was (and still is) a supremely athletic teenager with a rocket launcher forehand. He began his season at No. 108 in the rankings, but had since climbed to No. 58 after reaching his first ATP Tour final at the Rio Open.

Not long after his trip to Indian Wells the Montreal native would reach the Top-20 before Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray all did in their careers. Of the big four, only Rafael Nadal had a more bullish run to the Top-20. Everyone knew his potential, but not everyone had seen him in full force.

It was in his 6-4, 6-2 dismissal of ninth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas that the Canadian would make his mark. Auger-Aliassime was a significant underdog, but this upset was actually somewhat predictable. The super-gritty Indian Wells hard courts gave Auger-Aliassime plenty of time to line up the crosshairs and pick Tsitsipas apart with his forehand, which was by far the best shot on the court.


2019 Indian Wells Throwback: Auger-Aliassime dominates Tsitsipas

2019 Indian Wells Throwback: Auger-Aliassime dominates Tsitsipas

(Kathryn Riley/BNP Paribas Open)

As soon as the point started, Auger-Aliassime peppered targets to the Tsitsipas backhand. Once the Greek coughed up a short ball the point was over. When a ball struck as intensely as Auger-Aliassime’s forehand hits this rough of a surface it has an explosive compound effect. His forehand was too much for Tsitsipas to handle in all three of their ITF junior encounters, and it was way too much on that Friday. Auger-Aliassime would beat Tsitsipas again in the Queen’s Club quarterfinal later that year.

“I might never beat him,” Tsitsipas said.

The Greek would eventually beat him later in the year in Shanghai, and then again in Marseille. More so than any match this one felt like Auger-Aliassime’s true coming out party.