Felix puts together a great duel with Alcaraz in Monte Carlo

The Canadian dominates the rivalry against the Spanish 3-2

April 08, 2024

Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrates a point against Luca Nardi at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters 2024.
By Staff

The clay court season promises strong emotions for Felix Auger-Aliassime, present at his first event on the surface in 2024 with an immense challenge already in his hands. The Canadian drew his debut this Monday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters to meet Carlos Alcaraz in the second round of the tournament, drawing one of the most anticipated matches in the first clay ATP Masters 1000 on the calendar.

The American defeated #NextGenATP Luca Nardi 6-2, 6-3 with a sober performance, nullifying any chance of a surprise on the other side of the net. The Italian, who defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the recent Miami event, could not replicate a similar earthquake on the clay of the Principality, where the points land with a special weight.

An adverse record in the tournament (1-4) was not an obstacle to Auger-Aliassime’s confidence, as he was able to sign his first victory in five seasons on the clay of Monte Carlo.

“I wasn’t thinking about what happened in the last few years. Plus it’s been a while, because last year I didn’t play here. Let’s just say it’s not the Masters [1000] where I have had my best results. I think I’ve been to at least the quarterfinals in almost every Masters except this one. Although I train and live here, I haven’t finished feeling at home.”

Stripped of that past in the tournament, Felix completed a solid path to victory. The Canadian put the ball into play masterfully, winning 23 of the 26 points with his first serve to impose his authority. Auger-Aliassime barely needed 82 minutes to seal his ticket to the third round with his racket intact, without facing a single break point.

“It’s a good start for me, I hope I can continue in this line,” acknowledged the world No. 35 during his interview on the court. “I am satisfied with my level in the match, I was able to take control from the beginning. I knew how to maintain concentration, trying not to lose my serve. I think it was a pretty solid performance,” he concluded before thinking about an electric shock in the next round.

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The clash between Auger-Aliassime and Alcaraz will be the sixth chapter of a rivalry of alternating dominance in the Lexus ATP Head2Head (3-2 for Felix) and unprecedented on clay. When visualizing the first crash on this surface, a platform that has accompanied Carlos since childhood, Felix conveys enormous respect for the challenge he will face this week in Monte Carlo.

“He is a complicated player in any tournament. He may have grown up on clay but he won Wimbledon before getting to play Roland Garros,” recalled the Canadian, praising the versatility of the current world No. 3. “He’s dangerous on any type of court, and obviously on clay there will be a physical component. He moves wonderfully, he does everything really well. I’m going to need my best tennis, otherwise I won’t have any options. I think I can do it, “I have been training well and working on various details. I am convinced that I can play a good game.”

After dominating the first three stakes of the direct duel, the Canadian witnessed the growth of the Spaniard, capable of achieving two firm victories at the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells to balance the forces. The last of them, just a few weeks ago on his way to revalidate the crown in the desert of the BNP Paribas Open and confirm the return of the Murcian to the highest level of play.

In addition, world No. 12 Stefanos Tsitsipas made his debut this Monday on the clay of the Principality. The Greek, Monte Carlo champion in the 2021 and 2022 editions, advanced to the second round after the withdrawal of Serbian Laslo Djere, whom he dominated 6-2, 3-2 before seeing the match interrupted.

The tennis player from Athens will meet his next rival this Tuesday, to be decided in the South American duel between the Chilean Nicolás Jarry and the Argentine Tomás Martín Etcheverry. Along with top seed Novak Djokovic, Tsitsipas is the player with multiple Monte Carlo singles titles in this edition of the tournament.

Did you know…?
Felix Auger-Aliassime is the player under 25 years of age with the most ATP Masters 1000 victories without titles in this category. The Canadian, a former semi-finalist in Miami and Paris-Bercy, will try to take advantage of his 42 match wins in gold ATP Tour events to leave his mark on the clay of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.


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