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Smooth-serving Auger-Aliassime downs Halys in first round at Marseille

MARSEILLE, France — Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced to the second round of the Open 13 Provence tennis tournament with a 6-2, 7-5 win over French wild-card Quentin Halys on Wednesday.

Montreal's Auger-Aliassime, seeded seventh in Marseille, excelled on serve. He won 80 per cent of his service points, including an impressive 93 per cent (27 of 29) on first serve.

“I think I started the perfect way, hitting my targets and being aggressive, keeping him on defence and without much time," Auger-Aliassime said. "So it was the perfect start and then he was serving too good in the second set until I got lucky with a double fault.

"I was trying to put pressure on him whenever I had a second serve (to return). I think I played a very complete match."

Halys fired 10 aces in the match, compared to eight for Auger-Aliassime. But while the Frenchman showed he could match the Canadian's power, he was a distant second in accuracy converting just 56 per cent of service points.

Auger-Aliassime saved the only break point he faced while converting three of five break points against Halys.

The world No. 28, a two-time finalist in Marseille, improved his career record at the tournament to 8-3.

"I love playing well here. I have great memories," Auger-Aliassime said. "Twice a finalist, so obviously I’ve won some matches here but didn’t go all the way to the end. Let’s see if I can be part of another final here, but the week is so young and there is still a lot of tennis to play."

Auger-Aliassime, who is coming off a run to the semifinals last week in Montpellier, France, will face world No. 50 Zhang Zhizhen of China in the second round.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2024.

The Canadian Press