Canadian tennis star makes history ahead of the semi finals in the US Open
Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime feels “ready to attack the biggest stages” of tennis after becoming the first male player born in the 2000s to reach a major semi-final.
Auger-Aliassime advanced to face second seed Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals on Friday after a 6-3 3-1 walkover win over Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz who succumbed to an upper right leg injury after back-to-back five-set wins.
The 21-year-old Canadian, whose previous best performance at a major was reaching this year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals, has defeated Alcaraz, Francis Tiafoe and 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut on his way to the last four.
Prior to this year’s Wimbledon, Auger-Aliassime had never gone beyond the fourth round at a major.
“There’s one part, I’m feeling more and more confident playing in these big stages,” he told ESPN. “It doesn’t get much bigger than this. When you get comfortable on this court [Arthur Ashe Stadium], everything else is a bit lower.
“I’ve tried to switch my mentality over the past year to try to be more consistent with my focus, my confidence and my inner self belief. I feel I’ve grown a lot as a person and a player and now I feel like I’m ready to attack the biggest stages of our sport.”
Auger-Aliassime labelled the career milestone as “amazing”, albeit coming with a “weird ending” as Alcaraz retired without any major signs of injury beforehand.
The Canadian will take on 2021 Australian Open runner-up Medvedev, who defeated Auger-Aliassime in their only previous meeting in 2018.
“He’s one of the best players, he’s the most solid on hard courts probably right now with [Alexander] Zverev and Novak [Djokovic],” Auger-Aliassime said during his on-court post-match interview.
“I’m going to have to play my best tennis, try to mix things up, maybe come in a lot, try to see what I can do to disturb him.”
Auger-Aliassime’s triumph also means two Canadians have reached the men’s and women’s semi-finals at the same major for only the second time, following Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon in 2014.
He joins Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez who defeated fifth Elina Svitolina in three sets to continue her dream run at the US Open reaching the last four.
“It’s fantastic. She’s amazing,” Auger-Aliassime said about 19-year-old Fernandez. “I watched her match again today, I really hope the best for her.
“She’s a great person, she’s got great heart. I’m really happy all her hard work is paying off. I hope we keep going.”