Auger-Aliassime absent from the US Open; Crowd favorite Fernandez now carries Canada’s hopes

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NEW YORK – Felix Auger-Aliassime’s dream of playing a US Open men’s final will have to wait until next year. The 21-year-old Montrealer lost in straight sets on Friday, losing 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 to second-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev.

NEW YORK – Felix Auger-Aliassime’s dream of playing a US Open men’s final will have to wait until next year.

The 21-year-old Montrealer lost in straight sets on Friday, losing 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 to second-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev.

The loss leaves Canada’s Grand Slam hopes on 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, who makes her debut in the women’s final on Saturday against Emma Raducanu of Great Britain.

Seeded 12th Auger-Aliassime held on throughout the semifinal against the mighty Medvedev, with astute play at the net and sent his often-sent opponent well over the baseline.

But a string of first serve misfires and double faults saw the Canadian give up several scoring opportunities, especially early in the first set, which Medvedev – who barely seemed to sweat throughout the game – easily claimed.

And with a 5-2 lead in the second set, Auger-Aliassime failed to capitalize on his set point opportunities, leaving the Russian to come away winning five straight games.

Auger-Aliassime became the first-ever Canadian to reach the men’s US Open semi-finals earlier this week when Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz withdrew from his quarter-final match due to an injury to the leg.

But he clearly had his hands full with Medvedev, despite exhortations from a New York crowd who demonstrated their affinity for Canadian players throughout the tournament.

Fernandez, whose startling race to the final continued on Thursday with a victory over Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, attributed much of his success to the support of American fans.

Auger-Aliassime also proved to be a crowd favorite on Friday, especially those waving Maple Leaf flags. “Go get them, Felix,” they cried. “Come on, Felix. You got that.

In women’s doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa and Luisa Stefani of Brazil lost their semi-final match to the American duo of Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally.

Stefani landed awkwardly near the net in a first-set tiebreaker and injured her leg. Dabrowski and Stefani had a 2-1 lead in the tiebreaker at the time.

This will be Medvedev’s second appearance in the men’s final in three years after losing to Rafael Nadal in 2019. He will face either No.1 seed Novak Djokovic or fourth seed Alexander Zverev who will meet later on Friday. .

Djokovic is trying to become the first man since 1969 to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single calendar year. The feat was last accomplished by Rod Laver, the iconic Australian who received a heartfelt ovation on Friday midway through the game at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 10, 2021.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press


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