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Felix Auger-Aliassime cruises into 3rd round of Australian Open

Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Hugo Grenier of France 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Thursday to advance to the third round of the Australian Open.

The Canadian landed 72 per cent of his first serves, compared to Grenier’s 59 per cent, in a match that lasted two hours 56 minutes.

“It was a positive win overall today,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Hopefully I can keep going.”

Auger-Aliassime also fended off eight of 11 breakpoint attempts while converting eight of his 20 chances.

The Canadian opened the Grand Slam tournament with a five-set victory over Austria’s Dominic Thiem in a match that lasted nearly five hours.

“Things will get tougher and tougher as the tournament goes on,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But I feel good with my game and I feel like the work that we’ve done is paying off.

“I think the wheels are in the right direction so I need to stay focused, stay consistent and hopefully keep winning some matches.”

Auger-Aliassime, who is seeded 27th in Melbourne, will next face world No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, who has defeated him all six times they have played.

The Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 3-6, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0 in a four-hour, 23-minute second-round match that ended at 3:39 a.m. local time.

“Tough, tough tough,” Medvedev, a two-time Australian Open finalist, said of the late finish.

In women’s doubles, Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Montreal’s Erin Routliffe defeated American Ashlyn Krueger and Czechia’s Linda Fruhvirtova 6-1, 7-5 in their opening match on Thursday.

Dabrowski and Routliffe, the reigning U.S. Open champions, will face Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Veronika Kudermetova in the next round.

Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz dropped a set for the first time in the tournament before recovering to defeat Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (3) in Rod Laver Arena.

With a strong breeze to contend with, Alcaraz was tested by Lorenzo Sonego before coming through in four sets.

“I think both of us played a high level,” Alcaraz said. “The match was a little tricky with the wind and sun, so it was tough to play our best. But even if I lost a set, we played a good match.”

Two of the early men’s matches went the distance before being decided in 10-point tiebreakers, with Olympic champion Alexander Zverev holding off Lukas Klein 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7) in 4 1/2 hours and No. 11 Casper Ruud edging Max Purcell 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7).

“He played incredible. He was hitting every single ball as hard as he could from both sides,” Zverev said of Klein, a No. 163-ranked qualifier from Slovakia. “I didn’t really know what to do most of the times. To be honest, he probably deserved to win the match more than me today.”

Cameron Norrie, the No. 19 seed, also went five sets, coming from two sets down to beat Italian qualifier Giulio Zepperi 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 while Alex Michelsen defeated No. 32 Jiri Lehecka 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

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