Cincinnati | Auger Aliassime breaks his current run of poor results

From Canada the Tour travels to the USA and resumes in earnest, preparations for the US Open which starts in just under a fortnight’s time, with the Tour stopping off at Cincinnati where the seventh of the nine season Master 1000 level events is being contested.

I know I can still play great tennis and I’ve proved it today again. So I’m going to try to keep going that way and it’s a positive start. Let’s try to keep this rolling Felix Auger Alaissime

Now officially known as the Western & Southern Open, the tournament was first established 124 years ago in 1899 which must make it one of the oldest tournaments on the ATP calendar. Currently the event is being staged at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre in Cincinnati with Croatia’s Borna Coric defending the title he won last year.

Seeded 15, he opened that defence on Monday against Sebastian Korda only for the match to be suspended by rain with him leading 7-6(5) 4-3, as was a battle between two wildcards, Stan Wawrinka and Brandon Nakashima with the Swiss leading 6-3 6-7(5) 5-2, just one game away from victory!

Rain disrupts defending champion Borna Coric's first round match

(Photo by Aaron Doster/Getty Images)

Before the rains came to disrupt the schedule, Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime secured his first Masters win since Miami in March by defeating Italy’s Matteo Berrettini for the second time in his career in what was their sixth face off,

Seeded 12, Auger Aliassime pulled himself through 4-6 6-2 6-3 to bring to a halt his current bad run of results and hopes to at least match his previous quarter final appearances these past two years in Cincinnati.

“It’s a big win. It’s been a tough year, dealing with new things,” said Auger-Aliassime on the ATP website. “Every win that I get, I’m happy, from now on. Of course, the tournament has just started and I want to go further. I still have high ambitions. I never doubted myself.

“There’s comments right and left, but at the end of the day I know my tennis didn’t leave me. I know I can still play great tennis and I’ve proved it today again. So I’m going to try to keep going that way and it’s a positive start. Let’s try to keep this rolling.”

World ranked 14, he hit 9 aces but made 6 double faults while just losing 9 points on his first serve in the two-hour, 25-minutes contest.

Elsewhere, Dusan Lajovic, a qualifier from Serbia, ousted Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 6-3 6-4 and Chile’s Nicolas Jarry defeated Russia’s Roman Safiullin 4-6 6-3 6-3 while Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland overcame France’s Corentin Moutet 6-4 6-2.

Also out is former 2013 finalist from the US, John Isner, playing in his 16th year at the tournament, who was dismissed by Australia’s Jordan Thompson 7-6(5) 7-6(2).

Thompson now has the task of upsetting the top seed Carlos Alcaraz on Tuesday night, who was surprisingly beaten at the quarter stage last week in Toronto.

Carlos Alcaraz aims to make last week's loss a distant memory

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

But the Spanish 20-year-old world No.1 was in no mood to dwell on that loss as he looked ahead to this week’s Masters, his last warm-up event before he launches the defence of his US Open crown later this month.

And he is eyeing the prospect of facing Novak Djokovic, the second seed in Cincinnati, who beat him in the final of this year’s Wimbledon.

“I like those battles. I like to know that I can lose, and I can recover it at the same time,” Alcaraz said last Sunday.

“You must enjoy (it) when the battle is against one of the legends from our sport, against Novak.

“I feel I’m (the) main opponent; for me, it’s something crazy, and I’m trying to enjoy.”

He was definitely frustrated by his loss to Tommy Paul last Friday but that is now well behind him and should remain a distant memory.

“The main goal is to stay in the top spot,” Alcaraz continued. “And if I lose it, try to recover it as fast as I can.

“It wasn’t a good week for me, (there are) a lot of things to improve coming into this tournament.

“Last year, I lost (Montreal first round) and then (Cincinnati quarters) – and then I won the US Open.

“I have to overcome that week that I had in Toronto, try to play better here and try to do better the things that I did bad in Toronto.”

Britain has three entries in the starting line, Andy Murray, Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie and all have tricky first round opposition, Murray takes on the big hitting Russian 11th seed Karen Khachanov, Evans the slippery Italian Lorenzo Musetti and Norrie the French wildcard, Gael Monfils, a quarter finalist last week in Toronto.



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