Canadian world No.21 Felix Auger-Aliassime rallied from a set down to defeat his childhood idol and former world No.1 Roger Federer, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and enter the quarter-finals of the Noventi Open here on Wednesday.
The Swiss ace, who has won the Halle trophy a record 10 times, was being challenged by 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime for the first time. But, despite the age difference — 19 years, as both share their birthdays on August 8 — the Canadian displayed maturity beyond his age to defeat his “childhood idol”.
This was Auger-Aliassime’s fourth top-10 career win and will next face the winner of the match between Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who had upset world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday in the first round, and American qualifier Marcos Giron.
World No.7, Russia’s Andrey Rublev powered into the quarter-finals for a second time, defeating world No. 81 Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-4, 6-4 in 86 minutes. He will next face 2011 champion and German wild card Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Kohlschreiber, 37, beat France’s Corentin Moutet 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 47 minutes.
“It’s an amazing win, and I for sure didn’t expect this. Of course you come into the match wanting to win, but Roger was my idol, like many of us growing up,” Auger-Aliassime said after the match.
“It was a huge honour to play him before he retired, and to beat him is something amazing that I will always cherish.”
Fifth-seeded Federer was seeking his 70th match win in Halle, and his 18th quarter-final here.