On a beautiful Wednesday evening, I am sitting in Stadium court at the Miami Open. Retired NBA future Hall of Famer Chris Bosh greeted the tennis fans on a cool evening before the match featuring Felix Auger Aliassime and No.11 Boran Coric.
Felix Auger Aliassime, remember the name.
Auger Aliassime, who played an ATP Challenger Tour event two months ago, beat 11th seed Borna Coric of Croatia 7-6(3), 6-2 to set up a final-four matchup against defending champion John Isner.
Auger Aliassime is only 18, and he is already rewriting the history books at the Miami Open. The Canadian became the youngest Miami semi-finalist in the tournament’s 35-year history on Wednesday.
“It’s a privilege to be compared to all these great players. I think it just shows that I’m doing good things, I’m on the right track,” Auger Aliassime said. “But, yeah, I think I’m seeing the long term, and right now I’m just enjoying, you know, enjoying every day, enjoying every match because you never know what’s gonna happen next. I’m really enjoying myself.”
Watching Felix in person you cannot help but respect he is an all-court tennis player. He has a very useful serve, a civilized volley, and excellent athleticism. His groundstrokes are very precise as he can make his opponent run on court and finish up at the net.
“Playing Borna, who’s been established for a few years now, I definitely didn’t expect to win.” Auger Aliassime said. “I expected more, a set like in the first. But the second really surprised me. I felt like I had a margin over him, had a bit of an edge. I just felt really comfortable out there from the first balls.”
Coric was playing in his sixth ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final, and Auger-Aliassime, his first, but the Canadian was calmer and showed the swagger. The two exchanged baseline rallies throughout the opening set, with Auger-Aliassime often taking charge.
Moreover, Coric, battled in the opening set with Auger-Aliassime, until the tie-break, when he came undone. Coric double-faulted for the first time in the match and badly missed a backhand on set point.
“I think I’m really serving well, so I think it’s putting pressure on them. Seeing he double-faulted once in a tiebreak and missed a couple of groundstrokes that maybe he wouldn’t normally,” Auger-Aliassime said. I feel with all the matches that I’ve played obviously brings confidence at the end of sets like this when it’s tight.”
In the second set, Coric unraveled. He hit 38 unforced errors to 16 winners, was broken to start the set when he dumped a backhand into the net.
The Canadian is representing the country in the Northern part of North America well. He has played five matches against players inside the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings, and he’s won all five.
“Pretty crazy. Everyone is super excited back home. It’s great to hear all these good comments from them. It puts a lot of belief in tennis in Canada,” Auger Aliassime said. “I think all the Canadian players from the young kids to Denis and Bianca and I, there is a lot of belief right now, so it’s great to see.”
His background where is he from is one thing. His name was outshouted more than his opponent. With winning, the name will grow globally, I will not forget it.