Published: Sun, March 31, 2019
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Barty ousts Kontaveit to reach Miami Open final

Barty ousts Kontaveit to reach Miami Open final

Competing at only his fifth Masters 1000 tournament in a career, an 18-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime had to qualify for the main draw and start from the rock bottom at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami after reaching the third round in Miami.

A golden opportunity arose at 2-3 only for Isner to save three break points, but Auger-Aliassime regrouped and managed to finally lead 4-3. "I couldn't put a second serve in anymore".

"Now I'm going home for some rest", Auger-Aliassime said.

The Croat saved two match points on serve in the seventh game although that was all we saw from him as Felix held at 15 in the next game to wrap up a fantastic win and write new pages of tennis history again. Was able to come back and play a good match against him in London when I really had to in that round-robin match.

Isner, the world No 9 from America, hit 21 aces on his way to a 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) victory that moves him one step closer to retaining his title. "Yeah, that's just very tough to swallow".

Despite the loss, Shapovalov will climb to a career-best No. 20 in the rankings. "I didn't feel like it was the focus or concentration".

John Isner and Roger Federer each won their semifinal match on Friday, setting up a match between the tournament's last two champions on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Auger-Aliassime went on to win the match, 7-6 (3), 6-2 despite saying he was "low key tight playing in front of this legend".

Now marked down more than ever as a future champion, Auger-Aliassime uses the word "grounded" a lot as he tries to maintain a semblance of normal teenage life.

Canadian teen Felix Auger-Aliassime knows there are expectations that come with being a breakout star in pro tennis, but he also knows it's a burden he doesn't have to bear alone.

As Coric was dismantled in the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 event, it was impossible to escape the feeling that it was Auger-Aliassime's breakthrough moment, his run speaking of a coming of age.

"Since I started walking I was playing because my dad was coaching", he said.

While there's ongoing speculation about which of the two will eventually turn out to be the better player, what many don't dispute is the potential of Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime to reach the top five in the rankings and to win Grand Slam titles. "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". Start in Monte Carlo and - yeah, obviously my goals and my expectations, maybe not my expectations, but I'm aiming high. "I think I played a really, solid, nice first set with very few mistakes".

Isner, meanwhile, was thrilled to return to the final.

"It's fantastic", Isner told the crowd after beating Auger-Aliassime. Auger-Aliassime is the youngest player left in a tournament where plenty of youngsters have made splashes, yet he says there's no time right now to think about how rapidly his stock is rising.

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