Fixture: (1) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs (7) Felix Auger-Aliassime
Date: 18 March 2021
Tournament: Abierto Mexicano Telcel 2021
Venue: Acapulco, Mexico
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,053,560
Match timing: Approx. 8 pm local time, 7.30 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Felix Auger-Aliassime preview
World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas is looking to win the first title of his 2021 season in Acapulco. But the Greek has a tough task at hand as he will have to navigate past the tricky Felix Auger-Aliassime for a place in the last four on Thursday.
Tsitsipas, who is making his debut at the 500-level tournament in Mexico this year, has been in great form this year. After going unbeaten at the ATP Cup and reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open, the 22-year-old opened his campaign in Acapulco with a comfortable victory over France's Benoit Paire.
Tsitsipas then caught fire in his Round-of-16 match against the big-serving John Isner, dismantling the American 6-3. 6-2. It was a ruthless performance from Tsitsipas on return, as he won 40% of the points on Isner's first serve and 50% on his second.
The Greek has made significant improvements to his game this year. He is not rushing through his points anymore, and instead is playing with conviction and patience from the baseline. And with his win over Isner, Tsitsipas has booked a blockbuster showdown with fellow Next-Gen star Felix Auger-Aliassime.
In comparison to Tsitsipas, Auger-Aliassime has had a somewhat tame start to the season.
The 20-year-old suffered yet another ATP final loss in February, losing to Dan Evans at the 2021 Murray River Open. He then wasted a two-sets-to-love lead against Aslan Karatsev in the fourth round of the 2021 Australian Open, ultimately losing in five sets.
That said, Auger-Aliassime has been in good form this week in Acapulco. The World No. 19 has beaten Tennys Sandgren and Sebastian Korda in straight sets to reach the last eight with relative ease.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Felix Auger-Aliassime head-to-head
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime are currently tied 2-2 in their head-to-head meetings.
Auger-Aliassime had enjoyed a match-up edge over the Greek initially, beating him convincingly at the 2019 Indian Wells Masters and the 2019 Queens Championships. Tsitsipas got his first win in the rivalry by beating Auger-Aliassime at the 2019 Shanghai Masters, before triumphing again in the championship match at Marseille last year.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Felix Auger-Aliassime prediction
Stefanos Tsitsipas has played some aggressive tennis over the last week, showing impeccable footwork and ball-striking to completely subjugate his opponents.
During his Round-of-16 match Tsitsipas returned with poise, redirecting Isner's booming serves right back to his feet. And while the Greek was all over Isner's his service games, he wasted very little time on his own serve.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, on the other hand, has an effective serve and backhand but is prone to spraying errors from his forehand side. The key for the young Canadian in this match-up will be to trap Tsitsipas in his backhand corner during the cross-court rallies, as the Greek sometimes faces difficulty in hitting the sweet spot on his single-handed backhand.
That said, Tsitsipas himself has a strong forehand that can pull his opponents off the court. If the Greek can get around his backhand on the crucial points, Auger-Aliassime will be in for a tough outing during their quarterfinal encounter.
Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in straight sets.