Felix Claims Historic Challenger Title Defence In Lyon
Another week, another history-making performance by Felix Auger-Aliassime.
On Sunday, the Canadian teenager retained his title at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Lyon, France, storming back from a set and a break down to defeat home hope Johan Tatlot 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-2. Tatlot served for the championship at 5-3 in the second set, but Auger-Aliassime would not be denied, reeling off 10 of the next 12 games to emerge victorious.
The victory was extra special for the Montreal native, who became the youngest player in ATP Challenger Tour history to successfully defend a title. One year ago, he lifted his maiden trophy at the Open Sopra Steria at the ripe age of 16 years and 10 months. And on Sunday, he would replicate the feat in front of a packed crowd in Lyon.
"This one was pretty special compared to last year when I won in straight sets," said Auger-Aliassime. "This one was much more complicated. I had to find ways to win, with him serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set. It tastes even sweeter. It's honestly one of the best Challengers during the year."
In addition, he joins an exclusive club of players who have won at least three titles at the age of 17 and under. Also the champion in Sevilla, Spain, last year, Auger-Aliassime's title treble puts him in elite company with Richard Gasquet (5), Novak Djokovic (3) and Juan Martin del Potro (3).
At No. 172 in the ATP Rankings, the 17-year-old will look to continue rising when he takes to the clay courts of nearby Blois, France, next week. He is also up 11 spots to No. 14 in the ATP Race To Milan, with a trip to the Next Gen ATP Finals very much within reach.
With Alex de Minaur and Jurij Rodionov also lifting trophies, in Nottingham and Almaty, respectively, it was a signature week for teenagers on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Felix's Challenger Records Rundown
-Youngest to qualify for a main draw (14y, 7m) in Drummondville 2015
-Youngest to win a main draw match (14y, 11m) in Granby 2015
-Eighth-youngest to win a title (16y, 10m) in Lyon 2017
-Second-youngest to win multiple titles (17y, 1m) in Sevilla 2017
-Youngest to retain a title (17y, 10m) in Lyon 2018