Auger-Aliassime Beaten By Qualifier
Felix Auger-Aliassime surrendered a two-set lead to lose to Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in heart-breaking fashion in the Australian Open fourth round.
The Montrealer went down 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 3-6, 4-6 at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne as he missed out on reaching the quarter-final of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
“It’s a shame,” said the 20-year-old. “It’s really a shame that I couldn’t get through today. It’s difficult to swallow but it’s tennis. That’s how it is. That’s life.
“He played good,” Auger-Aliassime continued. “Of course, I wish I could’ve served better. But, I can’t just snap my fingers and it just happens. I got to be just a better player overall to overcome these situations.”
Auger-Aliassime took 39 minutes to go a set up and reeled off six games in a row to take the second set 6-1.
Ten unforced errors in the third set led to the Canadian dropping his first set of the tournament and some strong serving would lead to Karatsev taking the fourth to level up the match at 2-2.
Neither player had ever played a five-set match. The Canadian took the first game but Karatsev broke to go 2-1 ahead.
Despite Auger-Aliassime prevailing in a tight seventh game with six deuces, Karatsev would need just one match point to sew up a titanic victory and move into the quarter-finals.
“The positive thing is, mentally, I stayed positive,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I believed until the end. Even when I was down in the fifth set I still tried, I still believed.”
Fellow Canadian Milos Raonic is set to play world number one Novak Djokovic in the fourth round on Sunday as long as the Serbian recovers from a stomach injury sustained in the third round against American Taylor Fritz.
/Stewart Sports news editor