Felix Auger-Aliassime will have a shot at his second ATP Tour title – and a return to the World’s Top 10 – after dismissing #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-2, 6-3 in the UniCredit Firenze Open semi-finals Saturday.
The Canadian, who has already climbed two places this week to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, will reclaim a coveted spot in the Top 10 if he beats first-time finalist J.J. Wolf Sunday (5pm CEST, https://www.atptour.com/en/tournaments/tv-schedule).
Significantly, Auger-Aliassime has the opportunity to extend his lead over Taylor Fritz in seventh place in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin to 180 points, as both players fight to make their debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be played 13-20 November.
In the early stages of the semi-final, Auger-Aliassime displayed strong firepower to hit through Musetti, racing off to an early lead. The Canadian remained flawless from the baseline, firing 21 winners to only six unforced errors, dispatching the Italian in one hour, 27 minutes.
“We started the match really good, at a very high level,” Felix said. “He was playing amazing tennis and I thought, ‘I’m going to need to play my best tennis in order to win’. I think that’s what I did tonight, I played very complete tennis, a very solid performance. I’m really happy and looking forward to tomorrow.”
When Musetti was trailing 2-5 in the opening set, the #NextGenATP youngster called for the physio to address discomfort in his abdominal region. But Felix never let the Italian back into the match as he advanced to his third final of the season, all of which have come on indoor hard courts (Rotterdam and Marseille).
“A final is always difficult,” Felix said. “You have to play your best tennis because it’s the two best players of the week. J.J. [Wolf] has been playing very good, serving strong. I think if we both serve the way we’ve been serving this week, it’s going to be very tight, a very close match. I’m going to work on my returns and be ready for a good battle tomorrow.”
Musetti, who won an ATP 500 title in Hamburg during the clay season, has already qualified for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, to be played in Milan 8-12 November. The 20-year-old climbs to a career-high No. 24 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings following his run to the semi-final this week.