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ATP Sofia Open: Auger-Aliassime can “do good things this week”

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Felix Auger-Aliassime will look to capitalise on an early defeat for compatriot Denis Shapovalov at the ATP Sofia Open.

Denis Shapovalov predicted a “pretty stacked” draw in the Bulgarian capital this week. This proved accurate as the world number twelve Canadian – the top seed at the penultimate ATP event of the year – was dumped out in the first round by Radu Albot yesterday. Second seed Auger-Aliassime will attempt to avoid the same fate in a last sixteen match-up with Italian Salvatore Caruso later today.

The Sofia Open marks the final opportunity for players on the ATP Tour to compete in the 2020 season, with the exception of the top eight players at the Nitto Finals in London next week. As the highest ranked player left in the draw, world number 21 Auger-Aliassime will look to finish the year strongly in his last event before the off-season.

In an interview with the ATP, Auger-Aliassime said, “It’s the end of the year, there’s one more tournament. I’m going to try to give everything I can. Physically I’m still good, I’m healthy, and I’m confident in my game that I can play well… this week”.

Elsewhere, fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil upset fourth-seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-4 to reach the last sixteen, where he will be joined by a mixture of youth and experience. Nineteen-year-olds Jannik Sinner and Jonas Forejtek will face off against Marc-Andrea Husler and French veteran Richard Gasquet respectively, while rising Aussie star Alex De Minaur will take on Russian Aslan Karatsev. John Millman and Gilles Simon will compete in the battle of the thirty-somethings, with Aussie Millman fresh from winning a first ATP title at the Astana Open in Kazakhstan.

Having lost in three finals already this year, Auger-Aliassime will be hoping to go one better in Sofia, after lifting the doubles crown in Paris with Hubert Hurkacz on Sunday. The young Canadian is ready to “give myself a chance for the title again… [and] give myself a shot to win” – but he will have to come through a packed field in order to land his maiden ATP Tour title.


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