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31 March 2019, 01:00 | Tracey Rhodes
Auger-Aliassime makes history, sets up Isner semi in Miami
Coric fended off that set point with a service victor and created a break chance of his own in the following game, denied by a serve&volley combo from Felix who won all five points on serve in the tie break, going 4-2 up when Borna hit a double fault and securing the opener after a backhand error from the Croat at 6-3. It was nerves. I couldn't get a second serve in.
"Pretty insane. Everyone is super excited back home", said Auger-Aliassime, who wasn't in the top 100 of the world rankings two months ago and now will climb to No. 33 next week - if not higher. "It's really hard to play against him". "I probably did the best of all the players that played him this week".
His opponent Sunday will be the victor of the second semifinal between three-time champion Roger Federer and another Canadian teenager, 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov. "Yeah, that's just very tough to swallow".
Shapovalov, who will jump to a career best 20th in the world thanks to this impressive run, enjoyed some much better moments in the second set and looked more relaxed, although the match was never in his hands. I felt like I had margin over him, had a bit of an edge.
Shapovalov (above watching Federer's agent Tony Godsick and friends go by) showed lots of guts and fabulous shot-making in his four victories - especially during brutal rallies against contemporaries in the round-of-16 and the quarter-finals, No. 10-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas, 20, and No. 34 Frances Tiafoe, 21. Double faults have been too frequent but, up until Friday's semi-final, he had overcome them with timely, all-round solid serving.
But Auger-Aliassime figured neither set should have gotten to that point.
The former Miami Heat basketball towered over Felix Auger-Aliassime and Borna Coric ahead of their quarterfinal match.
"I think in the tiebreak, I was able to be a bit more solid and pressure him a little bit more, and it really made a difference", Auger-Aliassime said. For me, that's exciting because it's like a penalty shootout in (soccer), it's just in tennis.
The scalp of Coric was his second straight victory over a top 20 player and after five matches against top-20 ranked players, he has a ideal record. I think I will do at the end of the tournament. "I think all the Canadian players from the young kids to Denis and Bianca (Andreescu) and I, there is a lot of belief right now, so it's great to see".
"I don't know if it's fatigue that maybe I lost my focus sometimes", Auger-Aliassime said. "Then I will start training for the clay season".
Both he and Shapovalov will next play the Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo starting on Sunday April 14.
Federer, who has won 5 of 7 matchups with Isner, added, "I know what to expect - that he will not miss many serves".
"It's awesome, " the 33-year-old Isner told the crowd after his victory. "I think I have been just improving in the last couple of weeks", he said.
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