Felix Auger-Aliassime acquitted himself well in his first Grand Slam quarter-final on Wednesday at Wimbledon. But the Canadian simply lost to the better player on the day in Italian Matteo Berrettini, who advanced to his second major semi-final.
“I really felt like there was a match, there was a battle. It’s really unfortunate that I had small opportunities in rallies in the end of the third set,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Credit to him because I think he really deserves it. He’s shown how consistent he is over the past few weeks. He just won in Queen’s. He deserves to be in the semi-finals right now.”
The 20-year-old praised Berrettini’s “amazing” serving, but he felt in the middle of the match that he was positioned well. But one key stretch proved decisive in the match at the end of the third set.
“I think the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth is where I lost the match. I played a poor game on my serve. He did some good shots,” Auger-Aliassime said. “After the [beginning of the] fourth [set], when I started like this, he served better and better. He was more relaxed. I was trying to stay, to fight, to find a way, but it was a bit too late.”
Berrettini Beats Felix To Make Italian History
It was an interesting dynamic on No. 1 Court, since Auger-Aliassime and Berrettini are close friends. On Tuesday, they watched the Italy-Spain UEFA European Championships football match together with their girlfriends in player dining.
“It was tight. I thought Spain was dominating in the first half, and then Italy came back well, scored a good goal,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Penalties, it was a good comeback from Italy. Good game.”
That did not stop the men from competing for the win. Both were trying to reach their first Wimbledon semi-final, so they had to put their friendship aside for more than three hours.
During the match, Auger-Aliassime realised that on Centre Court, Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz had upset eight-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer. But the Canadian said the opportunity to play another first-time major semi-finalist on Friday did not distract him against Berrettini.
“I believed that Hubert can win. He plays amazing. But just the score was a bit surprising,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But it didn’t change anything from my part. I was in the middle of a battle, a match. I was just trying to find a way to get through this one.”
The #NextGenATP star will leave the grass-court season with his head held high. Auger-Aliassime made the final in Stuttgart, beat Federer en route to the semi-finals in Halle, and made his best run at a major yet at the All England Club.
The Canadian has climbed into contention in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals and shored up his spot in second in the ATP Race To Milan for a place at the Next Gen ATP Finals. But for now, his loss against Berrettini will still sting.
“It’s been a good couple of weeks on grass, definitely. There’s some good to take from my tournament here, a lot of positives,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But today I just felt like I had a rough start again, like other matches. It was just tough.”