WATCH: Auger-Aliassime extended his winning streak to six in a row after winning his first title in Rotterdam last week.

Matches between Félix Auger-Aliassime and established favorites have long been framed as present vs. future; up against three-time Marseille champ Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 21-year-old continues to shift the paradigm into past vs. present.

After a tense opening set, Auger-Aliassime, seeded No. 3 at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, dispatched the home favorite, 7-6 (3), 6-2 to win a sixth straight match in under two hours.

The ATP tour’s resident wunderkind finally came of age in Rotterdam last week when he won his first title, having finished runner-up in eight previous finals. Along the way he made quick work of Andy Murray, a contemporary of the 36-year-old Tsonga, and Auger-Aliassime was poised to put down a similar performance when he raced ahead 4-1 in the opening set.

Dogged by knee and back injuries, Tsonga, who peaked at No. 5 in the rankings a decade ago, has expressed a desire to leave the game on his own terms.

"I still want to have a good time on the court and plan my exit," the wild card told RFI before the tournament began. “Today I have no more pain and that's extraordinary.”

Undaunted by the deficit, Tsonga responded with vintage aplomb to claw back even and eventually force a first-set tiebreaker.

For a moment, the crowd was watching the charismatic star who reached six major semifinals, who roared into the 2008 Australian Open final with a straight-sets win over Rafael Nadal. Tsonga’s final bow may be imminent, but he clearly plans to put on a hell of a show in the meantime.


Still, big-match consistency has eluded Tsonga of late; he hasn’t won back-to-back matches at a major since 2019. Auger-Aliassime, by contrast, has made good use of his time spent without an ATP title, reaching the quarterfinals or better at the last three Grand Slam events, including a semifinal appearance at the US Open in September. In Australia, he led eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev by two sets to love before falling in five.

No such nerves were on display against Tsonga on Thursday; the Canadian eased through the ensuing Sudden Death and picked up where he left off in the second set, making no mistake on his second 4-1 advantage to serve out the contest at love.

Into his fourth straight quarterfinal—a streak that dates back to his run to the Stockholm semifinals back in the fall, Auger-Aliassime will next face No. 5 seed Ilya Ivashka for what could be a Rotterdam rematch with top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis.

Tsonga exited Center Court, flashing his mega-watt smile on the way out, and can be proud of a positive week in Marseille that began with a win over countryman Gilles Simon, earning him his second tour-level win of the season.

Auger-Aliassime may be the present, but for at least a set, Tsonga reminded tennis fans of his glorious past, one he’ll do his damndest to replicate until leaves the court for the last time.