Felix Auger-Aliassime was already upset once by Alex Molcan, less than one year ago in Marrakech. On Wednesday at the Australian Open, the Canadian narrowly avoided falling to 0-2 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head with a comeback victory.
The sixth seed stormed back from two sets down for a 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win in Margaret Court Arena, staying alive as he bids to improve upon his quarter-final run from last year in Melbourne, reports atptour.com.
Molcan dominated the first two sets and much of the third with his variety and precision, with Auger-Aliassime hitting 39 unforced errors in the first three sets. But the Canadian’s booming serve bought him time to recover, and he sparked into life after breaking for the first time in the match to lead 5-3 in the third set. Prior to that pivotal game, he had not seen a break point.
From 3-3 in the third, Auger-Aliassime won seven straight games as he began to inflict damage with his forehand and seize the momentum. While Molcan regrouped to claim the opening game of the final set, the Canadian’s serve and his aggressive ground game proved too much down the stretch. He finished the match with 23 aces and 59 total winners.
Through to the third round for the third straight year in Melbourne, Auger-Aliassime will next face Francisco Cerundolo or Corentin Moutet.
Molcan, who was on the verge of reaching the Australian Open third round for the first time, nearly scored his second upset of Auger-Aliassime in 10 months The Slovakian saved two match points in the pair’s first meeting last April in Marrakech, ultimately winning in a third-set tie-break.