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STINSON: No final for Felix after straight-set loss

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It didn’t take an excessive amount of analysis to determine if two Canadians had ever been within the singles semifinals of a Grand Slam tennis match earlier than.

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Solely three Canadians had ever executed it previous to this yr, and all in latest reminiscence: Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon in 2014, Milos Raonic on the similar place in 2016, and Bianca Andreescu on the U.S. Open two years in the past.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was making an attempt on Friday afternoon to observe fellow Montrealer Leylah Annie Fernandez into the semis in New York, in what would have been a Canadian first.

However such a factor must wait.

Males’s world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev did on Friday what ladies’s world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka couldn’t towards Fernandez an evening earlier, taking part in robust and regular tennis at Arthur Ashe Stadium to place away an underdog Canadian opponent.

The 25-year-old Russian, who is sort of a cruel backboard of a participant when he’s on his sport, was precisely that in his third straight U.S. Open semifinal, stringing out lengthy factors and placing every part again into play. He defends all the court docket relentlessly when not serving, and possesses an influence sport of his personal to maintain factors brief when he’s serving.

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Auger-Aliassime, 21, in his first Slam semifinal after a visit to the Wimbledon quarters in July, solely made a few errors within the first set on Friday afternoon, however that was sufficient to drop the primary set to Medvedev. Nonetheless, it was one thing on which he may construct. Auger-Aliassime has quite a few spectacular wins in his nonetheless brief profession, and he was holding his personal on an enormous stage towards a man who is likely one of the greatest hardcourt gamers on the planet.

The prospect he was on the lookout for got here within the second set. After which it went. After Medvedev wobbled on a service sport, double-faulting at hand Auger-Aliassime a break, the Canadian took a 5-2 lead within the set and was serving to shut out the set at 5-3. However after Medvedev saved a set level, Auger-Aliassime dumped a volley into the web on a second set level, after which tried a nervy baseline drop shot that Medvedev promptly crushed. The Russian gained the sport on the next level and Auger-Aliassime was by no means the identical.

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Medvedev roared by way of the remainder of the set to win it 7-5 and take a two-set lead. From the second at which Auger-Aliassime had that essential set level, Medvedev gained 15 of the following 17 factors within the set, punctuating it with one other service ace.

From there, it was anti-climactic the remainder of the way in which. Shaken by the misplaced alternative, Auger-Aliassime struggled to get his footing whereas in a two-set gap, and Medvedev rolled over him once more, with a 6-2 win within the third set.

Medvedev mentioned afterward on court docket that “the match turned utterly” with these saved set factors within the second. “I believe everyone thought it was going to be 1-1,” he mentioned. The Russian mentioned that he simply needed to make his opponent play, which is mainly his factor. If he makes you play, you merely can’t make errors. Auger-Aliassime made 39 of them. Ballgame.

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Auger-Aliassime may very well be forgiven for considering it was about to be tied at a set apiece. However as an alternative it was one other studying expertise for a participant who’s extensively anticipated to be a pressure on the Slams for a few years to return. He has been in eight ATP finals, however has but to safe a win. Earlier than this season, his outcomes on the Slams had not amounted to a lot. However the ultimate eight at Wimbledon was an enormous step ahead, and the ultimate 4 in New York was one other one.

However towards a participant like Medvedev in a Slam semi, alternatives can’t be wasted. Lesson realized.

After his win over Carlos Alcaraz to e-book his spot within the semis, Auger-Aliassime had spoken in regards to the outstanding undeniable fact that two Canadians had made it that far on the Billie Jean King Nationwide Tennis Middle.

“I by no means thought a day like this may come,” he mentioned. “Each slightly woman and slightly boy from Montreal, each on the similar time within the semifinals of the U.S. Open. It’s particular. It’s particular. It’s particular for us. I hope the folks again dwelling recognize the second additionally. We do loads.”

It’s truthful to see that the folks again dwelling recognize the second, because it had by no means occurred earlier than.

“It’s nice,” Auger-Aliassime mentioned. “However it could be superb if we had been each in a ultimate, proper?”

Possibly subsequent yr, child.

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sstinson@postmedia.com

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