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Auger-Aliassime digs deep for major comeback at Australia Open

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Auger-Aliassime Australia Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Two sets into his delayed second-round singles match on Monday night, social media was abuzz with tennis upset alerts.

It appeared, after uninspired 6-3, 6-3 setbacks, that sixth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal was going to become the first major upset of the 2023 Australian Open.

But Alex Molcan, the 25-year-old Slovakian singles star, sputtered and then collapsed, as Auger-Aliassime stormed back with spirited 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victories to avoid an early exit at Melbourne Park.

Auger-Aliassime, who struggled out of the gates in the first round before bouncing Vasek Pospisil of Vancouver in four sets, started even slower against Molcan, but appeared by the fourth set to have run his rival out of gas.

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“I had belief in myself after winning the third set. I had come back before and I felt I could do it again. But boy, it was a difficult day,” said Auger-Aliassime, who finished with 23 aces in the match that took three hours and three minutes to complete.

All the matches on Monday night were delayed by four to six hours due to heavy rains and slippery courts.

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, who was scheduled to play Cristina Bucsa of Moldova at 7 p.m. ET, was still waiting to play her second-round singles match six-and-a-half hours later.

Andreescu defeated Marie Bouzkova 6-2, 6-4 of Czechia in the first round of the Open, while Busca bounced Eva Lys of Ukraine 2-6, 6-0, 6-2.

And Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., was waiting to play his second-round match against Taro Daniel of New York when Auger-Aliassime walked off the court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2023.

 

The Canadian Press

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Novak Djokovic shares message to Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina – Tennis World USA

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Novak Djokovic congratulated Australian Open runner-up Elena Rybakina on “an amazing tournament.” On Saturday, 23-year-old Rybakina fell just short of landing her second Grand Slam title. In the Australian Open final, Rybakina was up by a set before 24-year-old Aryna Sabalenka stormed back to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Six months ago, Djokovic and Rybakina lifted titles at Wimbledon. “@lenarybakina, amazing tournament,” Djokovic captioned his Instagram Story.

Djokovic congratulates Rybakina

Rybakina has now made Grand Slam finals in two of the last three Major tournaments.

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After winning Wimbledon and finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open, Rybakina admits her confidence levels have increased and she now believes even more that she can win Grand Slams. “For sure, that’s the goal, to be in the second week of all the Grand Slam, to play finals.

I mean, now I have more confidence of course even after this final. I just need to work hard, same as I did during pre-season and actually throughout the years, be healthy, and for sure the results are going to come. I would say I’m trying to not think about expectations and everything.

Still after a great pre-season like this I was thinking I should show it on the court. Then, of course, the results are going to be there. First few weeks was not that great…but I think in the end it’s just confidence to go forward, to keep on working.

I feel now good physically also. I know if I’m going to keep on working, the results are going to be (good),” Rybakina said after the match, per Tennis Majors. Rybakina has proved over the last six months that she has what it takes to be a legitimate Grand Slam contender.

En route to reaching the Australian Open final, Rybakina defeated world No 1 Iga Swiatek. It will be interesting to see how will Rybakina do after a strong Australian Open run.

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Maple Leafs’ Murray dealing with ankle injury, Samsonov to start vs. Capitals – Sportsnet.ca

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