NEW YORK — Felix Auger-Aliassime’s dream of playing in a U.S. Open men’s final will have to wait for next year.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 10, 2021
The 21-year-old from Montreal lost in straight sets Friday, dropping a 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 decision to second-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
The loss leaves Canada’s Grand Slam hopes on the shoulders of 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, who makes her debut in the women’s final Saturday against Emma Raducanu of Great Britain.
Auger-Aliassime, who was seeded 12th, held his own throughout the semifinal against the powerful Medvedev, thanks to crafty play at the net and returns his opponent often sent well past the baseline.
But a string of first-serve misses and double-faults saw the Canadian relinquish several scoring opportunities, especially early in the first set, which Medvedev — who barely seemed to break a sweat throughout the match — claimed easily.
And with a 5-2 lead in the second set, Auger-Aliassime failed to capitalize on his set point opportunities, letting the Russian surge back by taking five straight games.
Auger-Aliassime became the first-ever Canadian to reach the U.S. Open men’s semifinals earlier this week when Carlos Alcaraz of Spain retired from their quarterfinal match with a leg injury.
But he clearly had his hands full with Medvedev, despite the exhortations of a New York crowd that has demonstrated its affinity for Canadian players throughout the tournament.
Fernandez, whose surprising run to the final continued Thursday with a win over Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, has attributed much of her success to the support of the U.S. fans.
Auger-Aliassime proved a favourite with the crowd Friday as well, particularly those brandishing Maple Leaf flags. “Go get ’em, Felix,” they shouted. “C’mon, Felix. You got this.”
In women’s doubles, Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Brazil’s Luisa Stefani lost their semifinal match to the American duo of Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally.
Stefani landed awkwardly near the net during a first-set tiebreaker and injured her leg. Dabrowski and Stefani had a 2-1 edge in the tiebreaker at the time.
It will be Medvedev’s second appearance in the men’s final in three years after losing to Rafael Nadal in 2019. He’ll face either No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic or fourth seed Alexander Zverev, who square off later Friday.
Djokovic is trying to become the first man since 1969 to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single calendar year. The feat was last accomplished by Rod Laver, the iconic Australian who basked in a heartfelt ovation Friday midway through the match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.