Auger-Aliassime ready to take on the world after 'insane' quarter-final epic
published : 27 Jan 2022 at 13:45
MELBOURNE - Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime said he was ready to test the world's best in men's tennis after taking title favourite Daniil Medvedev to the brink in a quarter-final blockbuster at the Australian Open.
The Russian world number two looked out for the count on Wednesday, trailing by two sets and down a match point in the fourth set, only to dig deep and pull off a herculean 6-7 (4/7), 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-5, 6-4 victory.
Medvedev lives on to face fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in Friday's semi-final, but 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime leaves for home with no regrets, despite coming off on the wrong end of a 4hr 42min classic that stretched past midnight.
The ninth seed, who in last year's US Open semi-final went down to Medvedev in straight sets, said his extraordinary performance had given him the belief that he can compete with the best.
"I always believed I could produce what I did tonight," he said.
"I showed it, but definitely it's the difference between knowing that you have this inside of you and actually showing up and doing it and being one point from winning.
"It's good for myself. It's a world of competition, so at the end of the day I think it's a good message that I send to my fellow players, the people I'm competing with.
"I'm ready to test myself with the best, and I have proved it now time after time."
Auger-Aliassime produced high-quality tennis, troubling Medvedev with his powerful forehand and serve among his 64 winners, often leaving the Russian flustered and scrambling to stay in the fight.
The Canadian broke Medvedev's service twice from 11 break point opportunities and at the end of the epic had the same total points as the Russian -- 182-182.
"I wish I could go back and change it, but I can't. So I have accepted it already. It is what it is," he said.
"I look at it in a very positive way. So far I played two tournaments this year. I showed some good level again tonight.
"I'm going to leave Australia with my head held high, and I'm going to go into the rest of the season knowing that I can play well, I can play well against the best players in the world."
Medvedev knew what a narrow escape he had pulled off and paid tribute to his young rival.
"I had zero confidence after the two sets. He was playing insane, like better than I have ever seen him play. It was unreal," he said.
"I mean, the thoughts going through your head, like what if I lose it? I'm going to be in the locker room in 10 minutes probably changing my flight to go back home and something."