As Felix Auger-Aliassime closes on a maiden berth at the Nitto ATP Finals, the qualifying scenario for the Canadian in Paris this week is simple: Keep winning.
The 22-year-old has been doing a lot of that lately, amassing a 13-match win streaking that he will take into his second-round clash with Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer on Wednesday. Leading Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz in the battle to claim the last two spots in Turin, Felix is already highly likely to qualify, but he can make a certainty of it by going deeper in the draw than at least two of his rivals.
Four of the Top-5 seeds are also in action Wednesday, including World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and 22-time major champion Rafael Nadal.
Felix, who boasts a 53-24 match record in 2022, has won four titles this season (Rotterdam, Florence, Antwerp, Basel), all of which have come on indoor hard courts. The Montreal native collected a trio of titles before arriving at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris and now the eighth seed looks to continue his hot streak.
“For sure I didn’t expect this run [three straight titles],” Felix said. “Day-by-day, things clicked and I was playing better and better. Hopefully this run keeps going.
“I do enjoy these courts, playing indoors. I enjoy Paris. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to play well here.”
The Canadian, who is sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, aims to strengthen his chances to make his debut at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals, held from 13-20 November.
Fritz, who is eighth in the Race, hopes to keep alive his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. The American will take on home favourite Gilles Simon, who rallied from a set down to defeat Andy Murray. The Frenchman, who reached a career-high No. 6 in January 2009 and claimed 14 Tour-level titles, is set to bid farewell to his career this week.
Alcaraz, who holds a season-leading five Tour-level titles, begins his quest for his third ATP Masters 1000 crown (Miami & Madrid 2022). The 19-year-old looks to continue his standout season as he takes on Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in a second-round clash.
“Since the end of the US Open, my goal has been to try and end the year as World No. 1,” Alcaraz said. “I have two big tournaments ahead, Paris and Turin. I’m going to try and show my best level.”
Nadal, who is competing in his first tournament since becoming a father, is seeking his first Rolex Paris Masters title. Should the 36-year-old be crowned champion, he will make up ground on countryman Alcaraz in the battle for year-end No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The Spaniard will kick off the Wednesday evening session against American Tommy Paul.
“I am excited to be here,” Nadal said. “I am here to try my best. Hopefully I will be ready for tomorrow [Wednesday], and I’m going to try to be competitive. Let’s see. I am excited about it.”
Other intriguing second-round matches Wednesday include Stefanos Tsitsipas taking on Daniel Evans, while 2020 Paris champion Daniil Medvedev meets Australian Alex de Minaur. 12th seed Cameron Norrie will close out the evening session on Court Central against French qualifier Corentin Moutet.