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HomeSportMasters Turin 2022 - Félix Auger-Aliassime beats Rafael Nadal in straight sets...

Masters Turin 2022 – Félix Auger-Aliassime beats Rafael Nadal in straight sets to revive

Rafael Nadal is on the precipice in this Masters. Beaten again in two sets, this time by Félix Auger-Aliassime (6-3, 6-4 in 1h56), the Spaniard must first count on a victory for Taylor Fritz against Casper Ruud to avoid being eliminated from this Tuesday night, before he is hoping for a miracle on the final day of the group stage. For his first appearance in the Masters tournament, the Canadian won his first match in the competition and will play for his place in the semi-finals against Taylor Fritz.

For the first time since 2009, the Spaniard lost his first two Masters matches. Robin Soderling and Nikolay Davydenko had been Nadal’s executioners. He had also ended this edition with a third defeat against Novak Djokovic. Lacking rhythm at the end of the season, the Mallorcan showed his best in the match, but it was only intermittently and we never felt that the man with 22 Grand Slams was able to make Auger-Aliassime doubt permanently.

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Still, it was he who got the first break points of the match from the first game then at 3-3. At 15/40 twice he was too tentative in the exchange, leaving the Canadian to come back up. Unbreakable behind his first ball (95% of points won in the first set, 81% over the whole match), the world number six extinguished any negative inclination to come back to score. As soon as he was in danger on his 30/30 or 40/40 face-off, Auger-Aliassime chained aces (15 in total) or winning serves.

Unusual scene: when the hawk eye no longer works

Nadal broke on serve

If he didn’t sink in the second set like against Fritz on Sunday, Nadal missed two service games. Enough to lose his matches in straight sets. In the first at 4/3 against him, he led 40/0 before committing two double faults and three unforced errors. In the process, Auger-Aliassime finished this set in authoritative fashion (6-3, 53 minutes). On the second, the Mallorcan still led 40/15. A double fault followed, then a straight foul with a midcourt forehand to offer a break point, and finally a completely missed volley on a return that seemed to fall out of the box rather than into it.

2/1 for the Canadian who would keep that advantage to the end despite a fifth and final break point to save two games later. Not as flamboyant in the game as during his 16 straight wins, Auger-Aliassime continues to release the tension associated with a first participation in the last tournament of the year. A palpable tension on both sides as Nadal searches for rhythm and feel, and where the strikes have not always been unleashed with full force. In that game, Toni Nadal’s protege fared better (32 winners to 13) and finds himself the better placed of the two to go to the semi-finals.

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