It was a bumpy ride, but Felix Auger-Aliassime found a way to get the job done on Tuesday at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle.
The fourth seed was dominant in the early stages before overcoming a second-set lapse to clinch a hard-fought 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 first-round victory against Marcos Giron at the ATP 500 event in north-west Germany.
Both previous tour-level meetings between Auger-Aliassime and Giron had ended with a 6-3, 6-2 scoreline in favour of the Canadian, the first of which took place in Halle at the quarter-final stage last year.
Despite a lapse in Auger-Aliassime’s level in the second set, the World No. 9’s weapons again proved too much for the 28-year-old Giron as he broke the American’s serve five times in a two-hour, 13-minute victory.
Auger-Aliassime reached the semi-finals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch last week and Tuesday’s win over Giron improved the Canadian’s career record on grass to 21-7.
Possessing a big serve and an ability to hit clean winners that make him a potent threat on the surface, the 2021 semi-finalist will be optimistic of another deep run in Halle as he chases a second title of the season.
Auger-Aliassime found his rhythm early in his third tour-level meeting with the American. The fourth seed was strong on serve and consistent from the baseline as he fired 12 winners in the first set, including four aces.
That dominance behind his delivery allowed him to strike freely in return games, and the Canadian broke Giron in the fifth and ninth games to ease to the opening set.
Auger-Aliassime’s next opponent on the grass in Halle is another American, Mackenzie McDonald, who defeated Swiss wild card Marc-Andrea Huesler 7-6(4), 6-4 on Monday.