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Auger-Aliassime beats Otte and brings Canada back on track in the Davis Cup QF
Felix Auger-Aliassime does the job and Canada is back to 1-1 against Germany in the Davis Cup quarter-final
Felix Auger-Aliassime did what Canada needed to keep their hopes alive in the Davis Cup quarter-final against Germany: he had the last word against Oscar Otte, winning 7-6(1), 6-4, and brought the team back to 1-1.
“I try to approach these moments with a lot of determination and confidence as much as I can,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Of course, that’s easier these days: I have been winning a lot of matches. But even then I feel like when I come to the court to play for our team or to play for my country, I just really lock in on the moment, and I prepare myself to give everything, to not be down on myself. Of course, it helps to have the team keeping you positive, and that’s all I do. I try to just give my absolute best effort. I try to do that all year but even more on these occasions because I know that I have a team relying on me to try and win.”
“I know that I have a team relying on me to try and win” – Auger-Aliassime
As the leader of that team, it was Auger-Aliassime’s duty to show the way and compensate for Denis Shapovalov’s loss earlier in the day. In a match that was surely less flashy and thrilling than the previous one, it was just a matter of staying focused for the Canadian.
And he did. He didn’t get frustrated by the missed opportunities of that first set like the three break points that went by at 4-3, and he played like the boss when it mattered in the tie-break. Overpowering Otte on his forehand, defending his serve very well (only one break point to save through that match), it was just a matter of waiting to put the right foot in the door for Auger-Aliassime in order to sneak a decisive break. He did it at 3-3 in that second set and proved iron-strong until the end.
Auger-Aliassime, one of the best players during the last quarter of the season, knew anyway that he couldn’t afford anything less than 100% commitment against Otte as the German had recently pushed him into the third set in Florence (6-4, 6-7(2), 6-2). And again, on Thursday, the German played a very good match: extremely lethal on his serve, ready to counterpunch every attack of his opponent with a game that is very tough to read. But each time needed to, Auger-Aliassime took the responsibility to go and win the points instead of playing cat and mouse with Otte. And thus, Canada is still alive in the quarter-final tie.
“We played not long ago in similar conditions in Florence. I won two good sets. I lost one tiebreak,” Auger-Aliassime said. “So, yeah, I did expect that he can serve well. It’s indoors, so, you know, anybody’s kind of dangerous when they are serving well. For my part, I was struggling to put in enough returns. I felt like when the ball was in play and I was able to construct the rallies, I was winning more rallies than he did. I had to be careful and I had to stay sharp.”