Canadian tennis has waited some time for a new start to come along on the scene. After the greats of the previous decades, we have witnessed a pretty drastic drop-off of court stars. However, that might be changing with the introduction of the hugely talented Félix Auger-Aliassime. The 2000-born tennis star is the second youngest player to be ranked within the Top 20 of the ATP rankings, and has reached as high as 15th on the ATP Rankings already. With eight Finals made in ATP tournaments so far, too, the future looks very bright for Auger-Aliassime indeed.
However, his US Open men’s semi-final against Danil Medvedev looks set to be the biggest game of his hugely exciting career so far. Coming up against a player who has won against Auger-Aliassime in their only game against one another so far, this proves to be the biggest challenge of his career. Heading into the match-up, Auger-Aliassime is an impressive 33-18 across 2021, while Medvedev is an even more dominant 45-10. This leaves both players in fine form heading into the match, with wins in their last five matches, respectively.
Victory for Auger-Aliassime would mean entering his first ever Grand Slam tournament Final. For Medvedev, it would be the chance to reach another Grand Slam Final this season, having already reached the other hard court final.
Who is Felix Auger-Aliassime?
At just 21, Montreal-born Auger-Aliassime looks set to be one of the most exciting athletes in Canadian sports at the moment. While the country is producing a lot of talent across numerous sports, especially sports with previous little success such as soccer, tennis has a large grouping of young pros arriving from Canada at the moment. Out of them all, though, it would be fair to say that Auger-Aliassime is by far and away the most exciting talent on the male circuit for Canadian tennis.
His career has grown very quickly, reaching the Top 25 of the ATP Rankings by the age of 18 and reaching his first ATP Final, the Rio Open, in 2019. While he is yet to win a major ATP event, at Doubles level he has captured a title – a run of eight runners-up medals, though, does risk turning Auger-Aliassime into the perpetual best man as opposed to the groom, so to speak.
However, with a hugely impressive 2021 under his belt, it is fair to say that Auger-Aliassime has taken his game to the next level. He went out in the First Round of the French Open, which was seen as a major disappointment. His loss to Marin Cilic in the Stuttgart Open was also a blow, as it was seen as the ideal chance to finally break his losing streak in Finals.
Auger-Aliassime has achieved a major feat this year already, though; he defeated childhood idol Roger Federer in a competitive game. He beat the legendary Swiss at the Halle Open, securing the fourth Top 10 victory of his fledgling career.
2021 has brought some great moments, including a Grand Slam Quarter Final when he reached the last eight of Wimbledon. He defeated Alexander Zverev in a competitive and controversial match, becoming only the fifth Canadian male to reach the last eight of the prestigious Grand Slam. He eventually lost to Matteo Berrenttini, who reached the Final himself.
How did Auger-Aliassime reach the US Open last four?
So far, the tournament has been one of grit and overcoming obstacles. His first win came against Roberto Bautista Agut, the 18th seed for the event. He also has defeated Frances Tiafoe and Carlos Alcaraz. The match-up against Medvedev, though, will see him come up against an elite No. 2 in the world rankings. Medvedev is comfortably in the top players in world tennis at the moment, and should provide a huge challenge for the younger Auger-Aliassime to overcome.
However, with a career that has all been about overcoming obstacles, there is nothing to say that he cannot impress further. Reaching a Grand Slam Final at such a young age would be seen as an incredible feat, and further proof that Auger-Aliassime has the capability to become one of the all-time great Canadian tennis pros.
Who will win between Auger-Aliassime and Medvedev?
This is a surprisingly tough one to call, despite the clear gap in experience and in winning capability. If you expect to see an easy match for Auger-Aliassime, though, you might be disappointed. He will need to serve absolutely fantastically if he is to give Medvedev trouble, and it will require elite forehand play to overcome one of the best defenders on the ATP circuit.
Medvedev has an imperious record in New York, though, and it is unlikely that anyone would have much chance against him here. As such, this is going to be extremely tough for the youngster to come through unscathed.
One of the things that puts the match somewhat in the favour of Auger-Aliassime is his all-around game. Young players typically excel at one or two things whilst having glaring issues that need rounded out over time. By contrast, though, Auger-Aliassime is a player with a very versatile playing style. His tremendous forehand shot is also extremely tough to deal with, and plays a role in making him such a nightmare to live with on the court.
However, there is absolutely a gap in terms of trophy-winning experience between the duo. When you compare the two, it is clear to see that Medvedev has the power of history and experience behind him. As any elite pro will tell you, though, few things can be more challenging to overcome than a prodigious youngster who has just achieved a great run of results and is on the verge of a career-changing victory.
Our Prediction: Auger-Aliassime is a hugely impressive talent and one who is sure to have a clear shot at Grand Slam success in the future. Taking on Medvedev in such a comfortable environment for him, in arguably the best form of his career, though? That is a different story. Medvedev in 4.
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