April 18, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

“Top Five” atmosphere ever for Auger-Aliassime in Miami

MIAMI, Fla. – As Félix Auger-Aliassime quite accurately pointed out, his opening match at the 2023 Miami Open against Brazilian lefty Thiago Monteiro wasn’t even a final.

It was a second-round match on the second court. But the Davis Cup vibe (okay, the OLD Davis Cup vibe) was real.

A large contingent of Brazilians had already been beveraged for the previous match, a three-setter between Jelena Ostapenko and Monteiro’s fellow Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.

So they were ready for this one.

It was hot. And the match was hotly contested. It was loud. And it was FUN.

Auger-Aliassime won two tiebreaks – five of their six sets on hard courts have gone the distance – and it took two hours, 41 minutes. For two sets.

Here’s some of the flavour.

A tough slog in straight sets

Auger-Aliassime said the ice bath he took after this one had never felt so good. It was brutal; and while he thought he’d be able to push through a third set, it luckily didn’t come to that.

Here’s what he said after the win.

Top Five atmosphere – ever

If the fans felt the vibe, Auger-Aliassime did, too.

He said he didn’t even mind if the crowd was tilted somewhat in the Brazilian’s favour even if there were plenty of Canadian supporters on hand as well.

The adrenaline was flowing. That might be why he showed off a few rare dance moves when it was done (see the photo gallery).

Here’s what Auger-Aliassime said about that (in French, with English subtitles by Open Court).

It was fairly clear, when it was over, that the two appreciated that they’d shared a pretty special experience together.

The handshake moments were really nice.

Next up – Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo

There are plenty of Brazilians in the Miami area – who are not “Latino”, per the generally accepted definion that’s a synonym of “hispanic”. They are Latin American in the strict geographical sense but their native language isn’t Spanish, but Portuguese.

But Auger-Aliassime’s next opponent, Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo, is.

Ask Juan Martin del Potro (who was actually in the house at the Miami Open Sunday) about the support he received in Miami through his career.

While Cerundolo is hardly at the same level rock star, the 24-year-old from Buenos Aires will get plenty of support. And the Canadian snowbirds should still be yelling “LÂCHE PAS, FÉLIX” from the stands, too.

It’s another steamy, afternoon match. And since Auger-Aliassime has already played Cerundolo twice on hard courts in 2023, and beaten him both times, he’ll be feeling pretty good about it.

The Indian Wells match included Auger-Aliassime nailing himself on the chin with the side of his racquet and requiring some treatment and even an off-court voyage to change his shorts, because some blood had dripped on them.

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