The Beijing Open was not welcoming for the standard bearers of Tennis Canada on Friday, as the country’s three players registered for the tournament were all eliminated.
Among the men, Montrealer Félix Auger-Aliassime, 15e in the world rankings, lost in two identical sets of 6-4 against the Dane Holger Rune, ranked fourth, in a first round match.
In the women’s category, Laval’s Leylah Fernandez and British-Columbia’s Rebecca Marino were eliminated in the first round of qualifying.
Fernandez, who clocks in at 60e echelon of the WTA rankings, lost in two sets of 6-4, 6-3 against the German Eva Lys, 122e in the world.
As for Marino, who slipped to 140e rank in the world rankings, she had to leave after losing in three sets of 4-6, 6-1, 2-6 against the Italian Lucia Bronzetti, 65e in the world.
No break ball
Less than a week after his two victories at the Laver Cup tournament in Vancouver — one in singles and one in doubles — Auger-Aliassime was unable to give himself a single break point against the 20-year-old Dane.
Rune had seven aces, three more than the Montrealer, and committed only one double fault, two fewer than his rival.
Rune also only needed two breaks of serve to earn his bye for the next round. He took the lead in the opening set with a break in the third game. The rest of this first set, the Dane only gave four points to his serve.
In the second set, Auger-Aliassime faltered in his serve in the ninth game, giving Rune a 5-4 lead. The Dane won the next game without giving a single point to confirm the victory.
Rune defeated Auger-Aliassime for the second time in three career duels. Their two other confrontations took place within an interval of less than a week, in 2022.
Auger-Aliassime first defeated Rune 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the Basel tournament on October 30, which allowed him to win a third tournament in as many weeks.
The following Saturday, in the semi-final of the Paris Masters, Rune avenged this setback by winning 6-4, 6-2.
A costly slump
In the women’s portion of the tournament, Fernandez experienced a slump that began near the end of the first set and extended into the start of the second set.
During this sequence, Fernandez lost the last three games of the first set, including the ninth on his serve, and the first four of the second set.
Faced with a 1-5 decline in the second set, Fernandez attempted a comeback, even breaking Lys’ serve in the eighth game. However, she was the victim of a break in the next game, without even registering a single point.
Fernandez finished the match with seven double faults compared to just one ace, posted a 56 percent first serve success rate and saved just five of the 10 break points she faced during the match.
The Laval resident obtained six break chances and converted two of them, one in each of the two sets.
For her part, Marino began her duel against Bronzetti by losing the first three games, including two when she was the one serving. Despite a break on his part in the fourth game, Marino was unable to bring the set back to even service.
The Canadian started the second set much better, building a 3-1 lead before scoring another break, in the sixth game, which allowed her to build a 5-1 cushion.
In the deciding set, Bronzetti made the crucial break in the fourth to give him a 3-1 lead.
Bronzetti ended the clash by scoring a final break of service.