Cana­di­ans clash at Wim­ble­don

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports -

It was only a mat­ter of time un­til Cana­dian Felix Auger-Alias­sime won his first ca­reer main draw sin­gles match at a Grand Slam ten­nis tour­na­ment.

That time came Mon­day as the 18-year-old from Mon­treal posted his first vic­tory at his first Wim­ble­don as a pro­fes­sional – on Canada Day, no less – against fel­low Cana­dian Vasek Pospisil.

The 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 vic­tory over Pospisil, 29, who was play­ing his first match since back surgery in Jan­uary, was the first time Auger-Alias­sime had played more than three sets to win a match in his life.

On a day when highly-re­garded young stars Alexander Zverev and Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas both were up­set in the first round, getting out un­scathed was a vic­tory in it­self for the 19th-seeded Auger-Alias­sime.

“First matches in any tour­na­ments are tough. I think they’re even tougher in Grand Slams. On grass things can go fast if you don’t serve well, re­turn well,” he said. “I think the thing for me was just to ac­cept it. ‘Okay, here’s the thing, I’m maybe nervous, not serv­ing as well as I would like’ and to ac­cept it and find ways to deal with that.”

Auger-Alias­sime reached the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Wim­ble­don ju­nior event in 2016 when he was 15. That was his last visit to the All-Eng­land Club.

But de­spite his in­ex­pe­ri­ence, many of the lo­cal book­mak­ers have him among the top six favourites to win the tour­na­ment.

Auger-Alias­sime will play French qual­i­fier Corentin Moutet in the sec­ond round.

Pospisil had the trainer come out on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions to try to free his locked-up right hip – an align­ment is­sue he dealt with a few weeks ago.

The treat­ment, in a nutshell, made it ap­pear as though the trainer was try­ing to yank Pospisil’s right leg right out of its socket, even if it was less painful than it might have seemed.

“Con­sid­er­ing I haven’t played for eight months, I was hit­ting the ball well. I started pretty well. I think as the match was go­ing on, my level was just drop­ping a lit­tle bit. His was go­ing up,” Pospisil said. “You know, you’ve got to be in top shape and play­ing ex­tremely well to be beat Felix in any match. Best of five, es­pe­cially.”

Fol­low­ing the two Cana­di­ans onto Court 12 was an­other coun­try­man – No. 15 seed Mi­los Raonic of Thornhill, Ont.

Raonic, who reached the Wim­ble­don sin­gles fi­nal in 2016, dis­patched Pra­j­nesh Gunneswara­n of In­dia 7-6, (1), 6-4, 6-2 to ad­vance to a sec­ond-round meet­ing with Robin Haase of the Nether­lands.

“It’s al­ways been tough for me here, to win the first round of Wim­ble­don – no mat­ter how well I’ve been play­ing. So to­day, I think I did a bet­ter job of cre­at­ing some dis­tance, and getting ahead, and giv­ing my­self a lit­tle more free­dom to swing out.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.