More energetic than world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, Félix Auger-Aliassime triumphed 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2 on Friday in Valencia to tie the game 1-1 between Canada and Spain in the Davis Cup Finals round robin.
The defining moment was a 12-minute game in which the recent US Open champion dropped no less than five break points in the third set.
Failing to return to even serve, he then visibly slowed down. “AAF” (13e) added a second break next, then kept control with the balls in hand to finish the job.
It is for Auger-Aliassime a first victory against a first racket in the world. On his first occasion, earlier this year in Rome, he bowed to Novak Djokovic.
This long battle of 2 h 55 min could have been concluded much faster.
The Quebecer had indeed dropped a break point that would have given him the first set, at 5-6. He then lost his last three points on serve in the tiebreaker to give his opponent the first set.
A similar situation arose during the next engagement and, this time, the Maple Leaf representative did not miss his chance. He smashed Alcaraz to make it 5-4, then grabbed the set in five short service rallies.
In the first match of the day, British Columbian Vasek Pospisil was unable to build on his momentum from the opening set against Roberto Bautista Agut, losing in straight sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Occupying 141e world rank, Pospisil saw Bautista Agut (21e) take off under the cheers of a home crowd in the second set, despite an 11-2 dominance in aces.
The winner made three breaks in 12 occasions during the 2 h 11 min match.
The Canadian committed 33 unforced errors, compared to 13 for his opponent.
Later, Pospisil must find Auger-Aliassime in doubles, unless there is a last minute change. They must cross swords with Marcel Granollers-Pujol and Pedro Martinez.
Having won two of the three games in its duel against South Korea on Tuesday, Canada will face Serbia – on TVA Sports – to end the tournament on Saturday. He will have to finish among the top two in the Group B standings in order to qualify for the Finals scheduled for November 21-27.