Canada’s Auger-Aliassime tops Cerundolo to reach Australian Open’s fourth round

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to move on to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The Montreal native fired nine aces and won 85 per cent of first-serve points, in addition to breaking on six out of 20 chances.

He also had 38 winners to Cerundolo’s 22 in a match played Friday afternoon in Melbourne.

After cruising through the third set, Auger-Aliassime was met with quite the challenge from Cerundolo in the fourth.

After falling behind 2-1, the 22-year-old Auger-Aliassime strung together three consecutive games to go up 4-2.

Cerundolo, however, trimmed the deficit thanks to an error from the Canadian after a forehand winner provided him the advantage out of a deuce.

It then turned into a back-and-forth affair as the two would match one another after every game won.

But that failed to work in favour of the Argentine, as Auger-Aliassime cruised through the final game, taking match point with an ace.

Auger-Aliassime will next face the unseeded Jiri Lehecka of Czechia, who upset No. 11 seed Cameron Norrie in five sets in the third round.

Fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov was scheduled to take on Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in men’s singles third-round play.

In women’s doubles action, Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Giuliana Olmos of Mexico defeated American Shelby Rogers and Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round.

Dabrowski and Olmos fired three aces to just one double fault and won 73 per cent of first-serve points. They also broke on 5-of-9 opportunities.

The third seeded-duo had 25 winners to their opponents’ 21.

Meanwhile, fellow Canadian Leylah Fernandez and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S. fell 7-6 (5), 4-6, 3-6 to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia and China’s Zhang Shuai in their first-round match.

After winning the opening set, Fernandez and Mattek-Sands fell apart following a great start to the second.

The duo won the first four games of the middle set. From there, Haddad Maia and Zhang took over with six consecutive games to win the set.

In the third, they built on their momentum, taking three of the first four games. Fernandez and Mattek-Sands could not get any closer than within two games in hopes of a comeback.

Fernandez and Mattek-Sands broke on four of their 12 opportunities in comparison to their opponents going 6-for-10.

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