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Second Serve


By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday May 22, 2022

The wins haven’t exactly been consistent for Felix Auger-Aliassime in 2022, but the 21-year-old Canadian has racked up a pair of extremely important victories.

Tennis Express

In February he won the Rotterdam title, breaking a streak of eight consecutive losses in finals. Today in Paris the positive trend continued as the Canadian completed his first ever comeback from two sets down, defeating Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablos Varillas, 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the second round at Roland-Garros for the first time in three tries.

Faced with a zoning player for two sets, Auger-Aliassime was at a loss. But he flipped the switch in the third and started to dominate the match with his first serve.

Auger-Aliassime won 41 of 44 first-serve points in sets three, four and five and never faced a break point as he took over the match that for all intents and purposes looked lost after two sets.

“I think I got rewarded for digging deep and finding a way to win,” Auger-Aliassime said.

The Canadian remained composed throughout and said he never lost belief.

“Of course once I got the first break, it was a relief, because I spent two sets without being able to break him,” he said. “Then to get that first break, go up 3-1 and then serve well and 4-1, and then, you know, I had more belief in me. But I don't think also at any point I lost belief, because I know how I can play, I know what my level is, and I knew that if I hung in there and if I tried to find a way to change things around, I would get my opportunity.”

Auger-Aliassime said he was able to turn up the heat with his serve by dialing it back a bit. He told reporters he started aiming for bigger targets after the second set, and that helped him find his way to taking over the match.

“There are sometimes days and matches where for a set, and then like in that case today for two sets, I'm not quite finding my targets,” he said. “I'm missing too much first serves. Then things can be more tricky. And then, yeah, I think maybe I was thinking also to, yeah, to not force my targets too much, hit bigger targets, to get my first-serve percentage up. But then once I felt I was comfortable again, then I kept going for it and then I guess I found my precision again.”