Auger-Aliassime Leads #NextGenATP Charge In Roland Garros Qualifying
Judging by their performance in the first round of Roland Garros qualifying, a slew of #NextGenATP players are ready to make their mark in Paris.
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime was one of nine #NextGenATP competitors to notch a win in the French capital on Monday, defeating South African Lloyd Harris 6-4, 6-3. The 17-year-old became the first player born in the 2000s to compete in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event earlier this year at the BNP Paribas Open, where he earned his maiden tour-level victory against compatriot Vasek Pospisil.
Since, Auger-Aliassime has gained even more momentum by advancing to the quarter-finals at two ATP Challenger Tour events in Portugal.
“Sometimes you expect to be nervous, to be tight, to not play your best tennis. But I think from the first game I was serving well, so that helps a lot because against good players, to help out physically, it’s always good to serve well,” Auger-Aliassime said according to RolandGarros.com. “At the start of the year I played well at Indian Wells, now I’m playing good on clay. I won two [ATP Challenger Tour] titles on clay last year, so I really think I can play well on any surface.”
The Canadian, who is the youngest competitor in the draw, will face another #NextGenATP player in the second round: Spaniard Jaume Munar. The 21-year-old beat No. 11 seed Tim Smyczek 6-3, 7-5 to set a rematch of a first-round match at the Barletta, Italy, Challenger earlier this year, in which he beat Auger-Aliassime after two hours, 51 minutes.
Munar, who is at a career-best No. 155 in the ATP Rankings, is getting plenty of attention from someone who knows a thing or two about climbing that ladder. World No. 1 Rafael Nadal watched his younger compatriot play in person during Australian Open qualifying earlier this year.
The seven other #NextGenATP players who progressed are Jay Clarke, Hubert Hurkacz, Miomir Kecmanovic, Duckhee Lee, Casper Ruud, Akira Santillan and Carlos Taberner.