Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrates after defeating compatriot Denis Shapovalov in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Andy Brownbill

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrates after defeating compatriot Denis Shapovalov in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Andy Brownbill

Canada’s Auger-Aliassime beats Shapovalov in clash of friends at Australian Open

Auger-Aliassime tied a career best by reaching the round of 16 at a Grand Slam

MELBOURNE, Australia — Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 in an all-Canadian clash in the third round of the Australian Open on Friday.

It was just the fifth Grand Slam meeting between two Canadian men in the Open Era, and the first to come in the third round or later.

“I was flawless and I played an amazing match,” said Auger-Aliassime. “Of course, it’s a shame we have to play each other.

“Hopefully in the future we’ll meet later in the tournament but I can just be happy about my performance tonight.”

The 20th-seeded Auger-Aliassime, a Montrealer, is now 2-2 lifetime at the top level against the 11th-seeded Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont.

The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime has tied a career best by reaching the round of 16 at a Grand Slam. He also advanced to the fourth round at last year’s U.S. Open.

Longtime friends, Auger-Aliassime first met Shapovalov more than a decade ago at a national tennis camp in Toronto when both were under 10 years old. Auger-Aliassime is one year younger than Shapovalov.

“It’s never easy to play Denis,” said Auger-Aliassime on the court after the match. “We played for the first time when we were nine and 10 so we go back a long time.

“He’s beaten me pretty bad a couple of times and tonight went my way.”

Shapovalov stayed at Auger-Aliassime’s house for part of his improbable run to the semifinals at the Rogers Cup in 2017.

Auger-Aliassime will face Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the round of 16.

Karatsev upset No. 8 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in three sets earlier Friday.

Earlier Friday, No. 14 seed Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., beat Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 in another third-round match.

Raonic will face Novak Djokovic in the next round after the top-seeded Serb dispatched No. 27 seed Taylor Fritz of the U.S. 7-6 (1), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2.

Djokovic has beaten Raonic in all 11 matches they’ve played against each other.

In women’s doubles, the sixth-seeded team of Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S., lost to Americans Coco Gauff and Caty McNally 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., and Heather Watson of Great Britain beat Australians Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock 7-5, 6-2 in another second-round match, while Toronto’s Sharon Fichman and Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos topped Kristyna Pliskova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-3.

Fernandez and Fichman’s teams will now face each other in the third round of the women’s doubles tournament.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2021.

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