Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime scored a 6-3, 6-4 victory over top seed Rafael Nadal in round-robin play at the ATP Finals on Tuesday.
Auger-Aliassime, the fifth seed in the season-ending men’s championship, won 81 per cent of first-serve points and delivered 15 aces.
The win evened his round-robin record at 1-1 after the 22-year-old lost Sunday’s opener 7-6(4), 6-4 to Norway’s Casper Ruud.
Meanwhile, Nadal falls to 0-2 with one match remaining in pool play.
Auger-Aliassime next faces eighth-seeded American Taylor Fritz, who is set to meet Rudd later on Tuesday.
Nadal will be eliminated from the event if Fritz falls to the 23-year-old Norwegian.
“I’m one win one loss now. If I can get two wins I hope I can get through so let’s see how it goes,” Auger-Aliassime said. “They’ll play him tonight and I’ll be ready for Taylor in two days. It won’t be easy. He’s been playing very well this year and these conditions are perfect for him.”
CLOCK | Auger-Aliassime topples the top seed in straight sets:
It was his first career win over the 22-time Grand Slam champion. Nadal had beaten Auger-Aliassime twice before, including a grueling five-set decision at the French Open in May.
Auger-Aliassime earned his way to Turin with an impressive 16-match winning streak, winning three of the last four ATP Tour events of the year.
It is special to play Rafa with Toni here, but at the same time we are competitors.— Auger-Aliassime on his coach Toni Nadal, Rafael’s uncle and former coach
He captured titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel during that run and earlier in the season won in Rotterdam.
Auger-Aliassime earned a career-high 56 wins this season, propelling him to a career-high No. 6 world ranking.
The Canadian credited his coach Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach, for his recent success.
“He has been a great help to me. I have a lot of respect for him and his family. It’s special to play Rafa with Toni here, but at the same time we are competitors and we do our best,” Auger said. -Aliassime.
Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ontario is the only other Canadian to have qualified for the ATP Tour World Finals, having played at the event in 2014 and 2016. Raonic lost in the semifinals in 2016 and lost both of his matches in 2014.
Djokovic’s visa ban overturned?
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will receive a visa to play in next year’s Australian Open despite his high-profile deportation in January.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said on Tuesday it had confirmed media reports that the immigration minister had revoked a possible three-year ban period for Djokovic.
The Australian Border Force previously said an exclusion period could be waived in certain circumstances, with each case being assessed on its merits.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles’ office declined to comment on privacy grounds, meaning any announcement about Djokovic’s visa status would have to come from the 35-year-old Serbian tennis star.
The 21-time Grand Slam singles champion was not allowed to defend his Australian Open title this year after a tumultuous 10-day legal saga over his COVID-19 vaccination status that culminated in his visa being revoked in the eve of the tournament.
Djokovic arrived at Melbourne airport as the world’s highest-ranked tennis player with a visa he had obtained online and what he believed was a valid medical exemption to the country’s strict laws for unvaccinated travelers because it was backed by Tennis Australia and the government. of Victoria State, which hosts the tournament.
Confusion reigned, generating global headlines. According to reports, this medical exemption allowed him to enter the tournament, which required that all players, fans and officials be vaccinated against the coronavirus, but not necessarily to enter the country. He was turned away by the Australian Border Force.
Alex Hawke, Australia’s immigration minister at the time, used discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa on character grounds, stating he was a “talisman for an anti-vaccine community of sentiment.”
Australia has had a change of government and changed its border rules this year, and as of July 6, incoming travelers no longer have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations. That removed the main barrier to entry for Djokovic.
It allowed him to petition the new Immigration Minister, Andrew Giles, to reconsider his visa status. To his credit, Djokovic left Australia quickly after his visa was revoked and has not publicly criticized the Australian authorities.
As the Home Department website explains, applicants in Djokovic’s circumstances must explain in writing to Australian border authorities why the exclusion period should be waived: “you must show us that there are compassionate or compelling circumstances to waive set aside his re-entry ban”. and grant you the visa.
Djokovic said at the ATP Finals in Italy on Monday that his lawyers were contacting the Australian government with a view to having him contest the Australian Open from January 16-29.
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