Always the standout of the post-Australian Open indoor detour on the ATP Tour, Rotterdam will deliver another fascinating final on Sunday. This time it will be between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Auger-Aliassime will hope to go one better than in 2020, where he was a losing finalist.
One would think that a match between the World No.4 and a qualifier would be straight forward but it was anything other than that for Tsitsipas, who needed three sets against a red-hot Jiri Lehecka. He was taken by surprise by the attacking play of the Czech but eventually found his rhythm, drawing increasingly more errors from him as the match went on. “I did not know what to expect, so I was trying to figure out his patterns and his game. He was playing incredibly well after the first serve, pressing and attacking like I had never seen before. I had to stay in the match and I managed to survive.” he said.
Auger-Aliassime hit 41 winners in an impressive comeback win to make the final, eventually coming out on top 6-7 6-4 6-2 against Andrey Rublev. The Russian had not been broken all week but once Auger-Aliassime secured the first break in the second set, the momentum completely swung and he remained in control from there. This win follows two good wins over Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie, both in straight sets.
Already 0-8 in finals, Auger-Aliassime will be desperate to avoid moving one step closer to the record of Julien Benneteau’s 0-10. However, it is going to be very tough against an opponent who is serving well and is a strong player indoors. Tsitsipas leads the head to head 5-2 with one of those coming in an indoor hard court final at Marseille in 2020.
Perhaps even more concerningly with this record of Auger-Aliassime is that he has failed to even win a set in any of this eight finals, including against several beatable opponents. He is far too good to continue with such a record long term but depending on a draw luck, he may become the holder of an unfortunate record before his fortune turns.
Prediction – Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets