Felix Auger-Aliassime overcame a two-set deficit to defeat Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday in the first round of the French Open in Paris.
Seeded ninth in the tournament, Auger-Aliassime overcame a sluggish start to win all 12 of his first-serve points in the fourth set. The 21-year-old Canadian secured a break in the eighth game of the fifth en route to winning the match in three hours and 13 minutes.
The victory was the first in three attempts at the French Open for Auger-Aliassime, who has made deep runs in each of the other three Grand Slam tournaments.
“It was disappointing in the match to see how things were going, I really hoped for better,” Auger-Aliassime said.
“But I think that’s why I also wanted to really push myself and really try everything. … I feel like I left it all on the court. Because this was an important day for me, an important win. I really wanted to get this first one here.”
Auger-Aliassime will await the winner of the clash between Russian Aslan Karatsev and Argentine qualifier Camilo Ugo Carabelli.
While Auger-Aliassime essentially was pushed to the limit on Sunday, 18th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria breezed into the second round with a convincing 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 win over Marcos Giron.
Third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany also needed just three sets to advance in the tournament. He posted a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Sebastian Ofner of Austria in one hour and 49 minutes.
“(I’m) very happy,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. “Usually I start a Grand Slam tournament with a five-set match and a few hours on court, but (coach Sergi Bruguera) told me today not to do that, so I listened to him for once! I’m happy with the match, especially against Sebastian who already played three matches here. He’s playing very well, so I’m happy with the start here.”
No. 15 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina recorded a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia.
Kuznetsov’s countryman, No. 21 Karen Khachanov, advanced after notching a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Nuno Borges of Portugal.
No. 23 John Isner and No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands also needed four sets to dispatch their respective foes. The American posted a 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6) win over Frenchman Quentin Halys, while van de Zandschulp seized a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Pavel Kotov of Russia.
No. 25 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain and No. 31 Jenson Brooksby were not as fortunate.
Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands overcame dropping the first set to seize a 2-6, 6-0, 6-4, 6-3 win over Davidovich Fokina, while Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay cruised to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Brooksby.
Also on Sunday, two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria was bounced from the first round. Hugo Dellien of Bolivia provided the honors with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Thiem.
–Field Level Media