Halle Open: Felix stuns Roger Federer to reach quarter-final
Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime stunned world number eight Roger Federer in Halle on Wednesday. The 20-year-old made a terrific comeback after dropping a set and won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarter-final. Felix secured his fourth Top 10 victory (4-15), claiming one of the biggest wins of his career. Federer, who recently withdrew from the French Open, is now 5-3 in the season.
Federer made a confident start as he controlled the rallies in the opening set. The Swiss converted a break-point at 4-3, and comfortably wrapped up the set. Felix bounced back in the second set by creating five break points across two games. He converted one of them to take a 4-2 lead. The Canadian was 4-0 up in the third set before winning.
Earlier this month, Felix reached the final in Stuttgart. However, he was defeated 6-7 (2-7), 3-6 by Marin Cilic in the summit clash. The former will next face American qualifier Marcos Giron, who saved all four break points he faced to defeat German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (1-7), 6-3, 6-4. Notably, Struff had upset top seed Daniil Medvedev in the first round.
Federer, who has won the Halle Open a record 10 times, was playing against Felix for the first time. The pair share the same birthday (August 8), but are separated by 19 years, the biggest age difference in Federer's 1,521 career matches.
Federer, who arrived with a 32-0 record in first and second rounds in Halle, was seeking his 18th quarter-final in as many appearances. The Swiss maestro was aiming for his 70th match win in Halle. "Everything worked well today, to be honest. I think that's what you need to do against Roger. On my part, I served really well," said Felix.
Ahead of the tournament, Federer had withdrawn from the Roland Garros. He had defeated Dominik Koepfer in the third round before pulling out for protecting his body. The 39-year-old underwent two knee surgeries last year. Federer earlier made a successful return to the ATP Tour after beating Daniel Evans in Doha. He is now 5-3 in the season.