Walkover sends Canadian teen Auger-Aliassime into Stuttgart final

Felix-Auger-Aliassime

Felix-Auger-Aliassime

Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced to his first grass-court final of his career after Milos Raonic was forced to withdraw in their scheduled all-Canadian semifinal affair at the Stuttgart Open.

He beat German Dustin Brown in a thrilling quarter-final on Friday in a deciding-set tie-break, saving a match point. Raonic is just ahead at No. 18. "I was hoping for the best after my match yesterday", said 2016 Wimbledon finalist Raonic.

This will be a first meeting between these two players. "Hopefully I can have a chance to find the solution to the Felix problem".

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Brown, who started the week looking for his first tour-level match win since the 2017 US Open, upset the top seeded Alexander Zverev on Thursday. In the victory, Auger-Aliassime won 83 percent of his first serve points and 59 percent of his second serve points. Raonic got 66 percent of his first serves in play and saved his only break point.

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Raonic was the runner-up in Stuttgart last year and has had his best Grand Slam results on the grass at Wimbledon, reaching the quarterfinals the past two years and the final in 2016.

"It helps me out a lot", Raonic said of the surface. Perhaps the surprising stat of Auger-Aliassime's embryonic tennis career is that he had never played a professional match on grass prior to the Mercedes Cup. "It's a part of the season I really look forward to".

Auger-Aliassime, who missed the recent French Open with a thigh injury, will be aiming for his maiden ATP title after final losses in Rio de Janeiro and Lyon this year.

In his fourth semifinal this year, Berrettini will now face Jan-Lennard Struff, who won 88% of his first-serve points to beat 2017 victor Lucas Pouille 6-4 6-4. The Canadian and partner Rohan Bopanna of India will face Australians Nick Kyrgios and Matt Reid on Saturday.

In doubles play, Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., has advanced to the semis.

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