Paire defeats Auger-Aliassime in Lyon Open final to deny teen’s first ATP title

LYON, France — Felix Auger-Aliassime lost a swift 6-4, 6-3 decision to France’s Benoit Paire in the Lyon Open final Saturday, spoiling the Canadian teenager’s chance at his first ATP Tour title and potentially putting his health into question for the French Open.

Paire converted on 4-of-9 break points to win in one hour 22 minutes in a match that saw the 18-year-old from Montreal laboured by a groin injury.

“I had a good week even though it didn’t end the way I wanted, not playing the way I wanted or being physically well,” Auger-Aliassime said. “There’s disappointment because these finals don’t come around often but there’s a lot of positives to take from that week. Hopefully I give myself other chances for titles.”

Auger-Aliassime had soared into the Lyon final with a 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 comeback win over Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili on Friday.

He has had success in the French city in the past, winning a challenger tournament there the last two years in a row.

Auger-Aliassime was seeded fourth at the ATP 250 clay tournament, which serves as a warmup event for the French Open.

“Lyon is special for me. Every time I come here I feel like I’m at home,” Auger-Aliassime said. “They’ve been treating us well. The staff and tournament have taken great care of us. Every time you come to these events you remember why you play.”

The second Grand Slam of the season begins Sunday in Paris, where Auger-Aliassime would be seeded at a major for the first time.

He is scheduled to face Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the first round on Monday.

Auger-Aliassime didn’t make it through qualifying at the Australian Open, the season’s first Grand Slam tournament, and has yet to win a main-draw match at a major in his career.

Auger-Aliassime bowed out of last year’s French Open in the second round of qualifying.

He has enjoyed a steady climb this year, rising from No. 108 at the start of 2019 to No. 28 as of Saturday. His run to the Lyon final will put him at a career-high No. 22 when the next rankings are released, and make him the second highest Canadian on the ATP Tour — below Milos Raonic and ahead of Denis Shapovalov.

Paire’s win was his second clay-court title in two months. He also raised the trophy in Marrakech, Morocco, in April.

Paire, whose only other career title came four years ago at the Swedish Open, improved to 12-3 on clay this season entering the French Open.

“I expect a lot for Roland Garros now,” said Paire, who opens against Marius Copil in Paris. “(I want to) win a lot of matches. … If physically I feel 100 per cent, I hope I can go to the second week because for a Slam it would be my first time in Paris, so that’s my goal.”

Just Posted

No charges for Alberta officer who ran over injured deer

LETHBRIDGE — A southern Alberta police officer caught on video repeatedly running… Continue reading

Alberta wants to bring back elections for nominees to fill Senate vacancies

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government plans to bring back elections for… Continue reading

Canada extends leadership of NATO training mission in Iraq to November 2020

OTTAWA — Canada will lead a NATO training mission in Iraq until… Continue reading

Trudeau off to G20 summit, hoping for global help in disputes with China

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to a… Continue reading

With a third of 2015 MPs not running, NDP turnover highest in at least 20 years

OTTAWA — When the federal election campaign gets underway in earnest, parties… Continue reading

No charges for Alberta officer who ran over injured deer

LETHBRIDGE — A southern Alberta police officer caught on video repeatedly running… Continue reading

Alberta wants to bring back elections for nominees to fill Senate vacancies

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government plans to bring back elections for… Continue reading

Canada extends leadership of NATO training mission in Iraq to November 2020

OTTAWA — Canada will lead a NATO training mission in Iraq until… Continue reading

With a third of 2015 MPs not running, NDP turnover highest in at least 20 years

OTTAWA — When the federal election campaign gets underway in earnest, parties… Continue reading

Trudeau off to G20 summit, hoping for global help in disputes with China

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to a… Continue reading

Ontario woman nearly dies — twice — after snake bite in Thailand

Ontario woman nearly dies — twice — after snake bite Shalabha Kalliath’s… Continue reading

Goalie Roberto Luongo retires after 19 NHL seasons

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida goalie Roberto Luongo has decided to retire after… Continue reading

Europe, you’re up! Yankees top Blue Jays 8-7, head to London

Yankees 8 Blues Jays 7 NEW YORK — Buckingham Palace and Westminster… Continue reading

Most Read