There was a time when Felix Auger-Aliassime was known as a great prospect but struggled when the lights were brightest.
As the Canadian star worked his way up on the ATP Tour, it seemed like he was just waiting for that one big moment where he would break through and realize his potential. After eight finals defeats, the win finally came in Rotterdam in February 2022.
The title certainly boosted Auger-Aliassime's confidence as he had consistent results over the next seven months.
And then October happened.
Auger-Aliassime was as close to untouchable as a player can be during a dramatic three-week stretch in the fall of 2022 when he joined an exclusive club of players to win three titles in three consecutive weeks.
Let’s take a look back at Felix’s Fall magic.
Auger-Aliassime arrived in Florence for the one-time ATP 250 event after a disappointing first-round loss in Astana. He looked in trouble early against Germany’s Oscar Otte who pushed the Canadian to a third set, but that was as tough as it would get for Auger-Aliassime that week.
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He closed out Otte 6-2 in the third and from there cruised. He never lost more than four games in a set the rest of the week and took advantage of what proved to be a relatively easy path to the title.
His highest-ranked opponent that week was local favourite Lorenzo Musetti, ranked 15 spots behind the Canadian at No. 28, who Auger-Aliassime put away 6-2, 6-3.
In the final, the Montrealer put on a serving clinic against American J.J. Wolf, ripping 11 aces, including one on match point, and winning 85 per cent of his first serve points to grab his second trophy of the season. While his usual hard-hitting game was effective in the final, it was his defence that made the difference as he managed to extend rallies and wear down the big-hitting American in a 6-4, 6-4 win.
While the field in Florence was not the most impressive, it was exactly the kind of event that the best players take advantage of to pick up easy points. Auger-Aliassime was the top seed and one of two Top 20 players in the draw (along with Matteo Berrettini) and he looked like the favourite throughout the week.
While it was another week of low-ranked opponents, Auger-Aliassime had a few more tests in Antwerp hot on the heels of his big win in Florence.
Still, the result was the same. Auger-Aliassime played like one of the best players in the world throughout the week and won the title with the loss of just one set.
This time, his highest-ranked opponent, No. 26 Dan Evans, was his toughest test and the Brit came closer than anyone to stopping Auger-Aliassime during the three-week run. Evans took the opening set of their quarter-final clash and pushed the Canadian to within a tiebreak of crashing out in the second set. But Felix dug deep, won the breaker, and cruised through the final set to escape.
He had to battle again in the semifinals against veteran Richard Gasquet, but Auger-Aliassime won both tiebreaks to advance to his second final in as many weeks. It was the third time in the Montrealer’s career that he reached finals in consecutive weeks and this time he managed to win back-to-back, beating yet another American, Sebastian Korda, for the title.
Back at a 500-level event, the intensity was turned up and Auger-Aliassime nearly tripped at the first hurdle when he went dropped the opening set of his first-round match against Marc-Andrea Huesler. But he fought back to win in three sets and never looked back the entire week in Basel.
In the very next round, Auger-Aliassime played what he described as “the best match I’ve played in my whole life,” a 49-minute 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Miomir Kecmanovic where he hit more winners than the Serb won points and struck more aces than he lost points on serve.
From the second round onwards, the Canadian only lost more than three games in a set once. In the semifinals, he ran into World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz for the second time since the Spaniard won the US Open six weeks earlier. But this was not a repeat of their Davis Cup epic, as Auger-Aliassime blew out the world’s top player with the loss of just five games, never dropping serve and firing 23 winners past the speedy Spaniard.
For the 11th time in 16 editions of the Swiss Indoors since 2005, a man born on Aug. 8 won the title as Auger-Aliassime completed his hat trick with a straight-set win over Holger Rune.
With the win, the Canadian joined an exclusive list of players to win three titles in three weeks. It took him 13 match wins, a streak he would stretch to 16 by the time he finally ran out of gas in the semifinals of the Paris Masters, which was the week after Basel, against Rune. That streak remains the longest winning run of his career as of October 2023.
The run was critical in sending Auger-Aliassime to the ATP Finals for the first time in his career, led him to finish the 2023 season with the best record and most titles indoors on tour, and provided a springboard to his leading Canada to a first Davis Cup title the following month.