Auger-Aliassime faces Thiem in US Open fourth round
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime will need to raise his game today at the US Open as he faces second seed Austrian Dominic Thiem in the Round of 16.
Auger-Aliassime whose father was from Togo, advanced to a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time on Saturday with a 6-1 6-0 6-4 victory over France’s Corentin Moutet at the U.S. Open.
Thiem, finalist at this year’s Australian Open, beat former US Open champion Marin Cilic in four sets to advance.
Thiem who marked his 27th birthday on 3 September said he is looking forward to meeting younger players. He now has one in Auger-Aliassime, who is 20 years old.
” I am always looking forward to play against these young superstars as I am 27 for a few days, not young anymore. I think it is going to be a great encounter”, Thiem said.
Thiem’s best record at the US Open, was as a quarter-finalist in 2018. Last year, he was beaten in the first round.
While the victory achieved a personal milestone, Auger-Aliassime said he also felt a responsibility to be a role model for the small but growing numbers of players of colour in the game.
Thiem-Auger Aliassime’s match is not the only big ticket for the day.
American Frances Tiafoe is also scheduled to meet Russian Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round.
Tiafoe whose parents are from Sierra Leone, advanced to the fourth round with a 6-2 6-3 6-2 victory over Marton Fucsovics.
Medvedev beat another American J.Wolf in three straight sets 6-3 6-3 6-2.
Other matches will see world number one Novak Djokovic meet Carreno Busta of Spain, while Canadian Denis Shapovalov will face Belgian David Goffin.
Croatian Borna Coric is also scheduled to meet Australian Jordan Thompson, as Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina takes on German Alexander Zverev.
The other matches are between Italy’s Matteo Berrettini and Andrey Rublev of Russia and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil vs Alex de Minaur of Australia
Auger-Aliassime has meanwhile expressed happiness that the big tournaments are throwing up players from various ethnicities.
“Seeing players from different ethnicities, different backgrounds reaching later stages of tournaments like these, I think it’s a really good example for people watching us,” Auger-Aliassime told reporters.
“I was thinking today that you want to send out a good message. You hope that you’re leading by example, that kids, in you, they see belief, that you can reach that whatever city, country, neighbourhood you come from.”
American Frances Tiafoe echoed Auger-Aliassime’s sentiments and said he wanted to serve as a mentor for the younger Black players coming through the ranks.
“I’m not going to let these guys fail,” said Tiafoe, who was born to immigrant parents from Sierra Leone. “Whether it’s tennis or whatever, I just want to see people of colour in my communities win.”