Canadian young gun, Felix Auger-Aliassime opens his campaign at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille on Wednesday as he takes on Italian, Stefano Travaglia.
Auger-Aliassime vs Travaglia is live from Marseille on Wednesday, 19 February from 3:30pm local time/ 2:30pm GMT
Auger-Aliassime is seeking his first ever win in Marseille, having lost to another Italian, Thomas Fabiano in his debut appearance in 2018. He did not feature at the tournament last year, opting instead to compete in Rio, where he made his first tour-level final (lost to Laslo Djere).
The teenager went on to make two more finals- in Lyon and Stuttgart- in a breakout 2019 campaign, while he also reached semi-finals in Miami and Queen’s. Auger-Aliassime peaked at No. 17 on the ATP rankings last year, having begun the season outside the top-100, while he ended a fine campaign at 21st, despite fading towards the end of the year, and missing the concluding weeks with an ankle injury.
It’s been a mixed start to 2020 for the Canadian. He won just one of four singles matches at the ATP Cup, and has since crashed to a first round defeat at the Australian Open and a second round exit it Montpellier, but he has also made a semi-final in Adelaide, and more recently, a final at last week’s ATP 500 meet in Rotterdam. Despite faltering at the final hurdle, Auger-Aliassime’s Rotterdam run got him back into the top-20, with the Canadian now ranked 18th in the world.
A fine week in Rotterdam included victories over Jan-Lennard Struff, Grigor Dimitrov, Aljaz Bedene and Pablo Carreno Busta, but he was beaten by Gael Monfils in the championship match. That’s now four defeats in four tour-level finals for the Canadian. Is this the week when he finally gets over the line?
He starts his bid against Italy’s Travaglia on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Travaglia is seeking his first tour-level victory since the ATP Cup, where he scored victories over Taylor Fritz and Viktor Durasovic and lost to Karen Khachanov. He has since failed to clear the first round at his other two tour-level events at the Australian Open and Pune (lost to Gilles Simon and Ilya Ivashka respectively).
However, he found more joy on the Challenger Tour, reaching the final in Bendigo at the start of the year, and making a semi-final in Bangalore last week. The story was not too dissimilar last season, with Travaglia producing his best result at the Challengers, while struggling on the main tour.
His did manage a tour-level quarter final in Umag, beating compatriots, Fabianno and Fabio Fognini, but that was as good as it for him. The 28-year-old won just three other tour-level matches, one each at the Australian Open, Gstaad and Stockholm. By contrast, he claimed Challenger titles in Francavilla and Sopot, made a final in Shymkent, and semi-finals in Cherbourg, Heilbronn, Ludwigshafen, and Como. All of that was good enough to get Travaglia into the top-100 for the first time, with the Italian finishing the year at 84th.
He is currently at 85th in the world, but has already peaked at a career-high 74th this year. Can he score the upset over Auger-Aliassime in their first on Wednesday?
As long as Auger-Aliassime does not suffer any hangovers from his Rotterdam exertions, the rising star should be able to take down Travaglia, who clearly struggles at this level.