Auger-Aliassime conquers Alcaraz, Spain

·3-min read

Carlos Alcaraz's biggest fans had flocked see the world's new top-ranked player in his homecoming to Spain.

Instead, they witnessed Felix Auger-Aliassime beat their new idol before staying on the hard court to secure a second victory in doubles and help Canada to a 2-1 upset win over Spain in the Davis Cup group phase on Friday.

Alcaraz lost 6-7 (7-3) 6-4 6-2 to a superb Auger-Aliassime, who endured the partisan crowd and tilted the match in Valencia his way after the 19-year-old Spaniard dug deep to claim the first-set tiebreaker.

"Felix is a beast. Physically and mentally, Felix is one of the best in the world," Alcaraz said after his first match since winning the US Open last weekend to become the youngest man to rise to the top of the ATP rankings.

"I didn't come in very good physical condition," he added. "It was a very tough day, but I have to say congratulations to him because he played an unbelievable game."

As the pavilion roared for Alcaraz, Auger-Aliassime coolly responded by surgically placing shot after shot exactly where he wanted. He dominated on his serve with 16 aces and eventually broke Alcaraz late in the second set and twice in the third.

"He is the world No.1 and big credit to him for that, but today I think I was a little bit better in the third set," the 13th-ranked Auger-Aliassime said. "I wasn't going to let my team down with my fighting spirit."

Roberto Bautista gave Spain the first point after he fought back for a 3-6 6-3 6-3 win against Vasek Pospisil.

With no time to recover, Auger-Aliassime and Pospisil showed no sign of being worn down when they came from behind to beat Marcel Granollers and Pedro Martinez 4-6 6-4 7-5 in the decider.

Canada next plays Serbia on Saturday while Spain face South Korea on Sunday to determine which two advance to the quarter-finals in November in the southern Spanish city of Malaga.

Spain beat Serbia 3-0 on Wednesday while Alcaraz was resting after jetting home from New York where he won his first grand slam singles title on Sunday after a gruelling run that included three consecutive five-set victories.

Also on Friday, the Netherlands advanced after beating Andy Murray's Britain 2-1 in Glasgow. The result also meant the United States advanced from Group D.

Murray, playing in his 50th Davis Cup rubber, said: "It just sucks because these matches have come down to a few points and they've not gone our way. I have been fortunate to play a lot of these matches over the years and come through them.

"That hasn't happened this time around and I feel sad about that, because I think we had the possibility to have a really good run here.

"Obviously when you get to my age and this stage of your career, I don't know how many opportunities I'll get to still be part of this team."

Germany and Australia advanced from Group C after the Germans beat Belgium 2-1, while Italy defeated Argentina 2-1 in Bologna in Group A.