WATCH: After a brief interruption, Auger-Aliassime marched over the finish line in just over 90 minutes.

Past and present collided on Rotterdam’s Center Court and Félix Auger-Aliassime allowed just one moment for nostalgia throughout a 97-minute dismissal of former world No. 1 Andy Murray, 6-3, 6-4.

Up 40-0 in the final game, the No. 3 seed agreed to a replay when Murray’s hat flew off, causing the Brit to halt play due to the unintentional hindrance.

“I’m not trying to cheat,” Murray is heard telling Auger-Aliassime as the camera lingers on the Brit’s crumpled hat.

Whether it was out of respect or because the match was all but over, the 21-year-old wisely acquiesced to a request made by a beloved former champion and nonetheless strode over the finish line two points later.

For what it’s worth, his deference after the match certainly implies the former.

“He doesn’t miss!” he exclaimed on court. “He just doesn’t miss a lot of balls. You can argue his movement or his serve isn’t the same as it used to be, but it’s still so good and such a high level. I hope he can keep playing well and get back to where he belongs.”


Improving to 2-0 against Murray, who will likely return to the Top 90 after Thursday’s contest, Auger-Aliassime has undoubtedly improved since they last met two years ago in New York. For starters, the Canadian is firmly ensconced within the Top 10, at a career-high of No. 9. He is also fresh off a third straight major quarterfinal appearance, where he led Daniil Medvedev by two sets before faltering in five. He also played Medvedev at the US Open semifinals last summer.

Still missing from the youngster’s impressive resume is an ATP singles title, an omission made all the more glaring by eight runner-up finishes between 2019 and 2021. Far from an odd-on favorite to end that streak in Rotterdam—the draw still features top seeds Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and his next opponent, BNP Paribas Open champion Cameron Norrie—Auger-Aliassime played the kind of no-nonsense tennis against Murray that should earn him an elusive trophy before the year is out.

He nabbed a quick 4-0 lead against the 2009 champion, who entered the draw via a wild card and began the week with a solid win over Montpellier champ Alexander Bublik, and barely blinked each time Murray admirably pushed back. Nearly half of his serves were unreturnable and he ended the match with 22 winners to 16 unforced errors; Murray, by contrast, managed 10 winners to 22 errors.

Though the pair would exchange breaks early in the second set, the result never appeared in doubt; Murray’s serve indeed lacked its former potency and helped Auger-Aliassime edge back in front up to—and in spite of—the replayed match point. On his third attempt, the Canadian pulled off an audacious all-court display to end the match on a second stab volley.

And isn’t that just like Auger-Aliassime? It may not happen on his first or second try, but a combination of raw talent and persistent dedication creates extra opportunities to eventually achieve his desired result.

It’s going to happen for Félix Auger-Aliassime, and when it does, we’ll all tip our caps.