Felix Auger-Aliassime wins Swiss Indoors for 3rd title in October
BASEL, Switzerland -- Felix Auger-Aliassime won his third straight title in October, beating Holger Rune 6-3, 7-5 in the Swiss Indoors final.
Auger-Aliassime went through his five matches at Basel without dropping serve, and he saved all three break points Rune had.
The ninth-ranked Auger-Aliassime added the Basel title to wins in the last two weeks at Florence, Italy, and Antwerp, Belgium. He extended his winning streak to 13 matches.
The 22-year-old Canadian shares the same Aug. 8 birthday with Swiss great Roger Federer who had intended to return to tournament play at his hometown event. Federer announced his retirement last month at age 41 because of persistent knee injuries.
“I actually thought about him this morning, and thought how cool it would be if I win here, where he won 10 times,” Auger-Aliassime said of Federer.
Every winner of the Swiss Indoors from 2006 up to this edition also has a U.S. Open title. The others are Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro - who both had to beat Federer in their finals - and Marin Cilic.
“I’m very far from that, but it’s so cool to have my name with all these great champions at this prestigious tournament,” said Auger-Aliassime, who beat the current U.S. Open champion, top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz, on Saturday in the semifinals.
The combined age of Auger-Aliassime and the 19-year-old Rune added up to the same 41 years as Federer.
Rune is now 2-2 in finals though he will be ranked inside the top 20 for the first time on Monday.
Auger-Aliassime improved his career record in finals to 4-9 with all four titles won this year at indoor hard-court events in Europe.
The third-seeded right-hander won the only break-point chance of the first set to lead 3-1 - also the first time unseeded Rune’s service was broken this week - and pressured him into another service break to take a 6-5 lead in the second.
In that tense 11th game, Rune was distracted on one point by flickering, court-wide advertising boards behind his opponent which went black for a second as he prepared a shot and then lit up again.
Rune questioned chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani, who had not seen the screen malfunction, when the point ended. After having his service broken, Rune continued the discussion at the changeover with a stream of expletives.
Lahyani was heard on a court-side microphone telling Rune “I don’t want these kind of words,” and asked the Danish teenager to show respect.
Auger-Aliassime seemed untroubled by the dispute and quickly clinched with his third match point when Rune sent a forehand long.