Felix Auger Aliassime got to work repairing his clay game on Sunday, getting out of trouble against Filip Krajinovic for a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 first round win at the Rome Masters.
The Candian who is being coached this clay season by Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni has had a patchy run so far, losing first-rounders in Monte Carlo and Madrid while managing the Barcelona quarter-finals.
The ATP No. 20 had a chance at a straight-sets win over his Serb opponent, but was broken while serving for the match.
Last autumn, Krajinovic beat Augur-Aliassime in the first round of the COVID-delayed edition of the Italian event.
“It’s always a tough match always against him, I’m happy I was able to win today,” the Canadian said.
“I wanted to win badly, so I dug deep and I found a way. I’m happy I was able to(do it) in the end with all the circumstances.”
The winner pounded a dozen aces over the two-and-three-quarter-hour match, breaking six times from 15 chances.