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Ricky’s preview and pick for the Marseille final: Rublev vs. Auger-Aliassime

Felix Auger-Aliassime faces Andrey Rublev in the Marseille final. EPA-EFE/SANDER KONING

By Ricky Dimon

It took Felix Auger-Aliassime 21 years of his life to win his first ATP title. It may take him exactly one week to win a second.

Auger-Aliassime, who triumphed last weekend in Rotterdam, will be back in another final when he faces Andrey Rublev at the Open 13 on Sunday afternoon. They also just squared off in Rotterdam, where Auger-Aliassime prevailed 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4 during semifinal action. The 21-year-old still trails the head-to-head series 2-1, as Rublev got the best of three-setters in 2018 (Umag) and 2020 (Adelaide).

Riding momentum from Rotterdam, Auger-Aliassime is through to another championship Sunday following Marseille victories over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Ilya Ivashka, and Roman Safiullin–all in straight sets.

“It’s always a tough challenge,” the world No. 9 said of going up against Rublev. “We always play three sets–a lot of suspense, a lot of ups and downs; so hopefully we put on a good show for the crowd and I give myself a chance to win the trophy here in my second final in Marseille.”

Andrey Rublev takes on Felix Auger-Aliassime for the second straight week. EPA-EFE/SANDER KONING

Rublev took a much more circuitous route to the final. The seventh-ranked Russian needed final sets against each of his first three opponents–Frenchmen Richard Gasquet, Lucas Pouille, and Benjamin Bonzi. Although Rublev will finally have some crowd support in this one, it comes at the expense of a steep step up in competition.

Auger-Aliassime had been 0-8 lifetime in ATP finals prior to his long-awaited success in Rotterdam. Now that he finally has a title under his belt, don’t you feel like he will be off to the races? Rublev may be able to make a brief run during the match when his forehand is clicking, but for the most part the Canadian–who has been by far the best player throughout the week in Marseille–should be in control.

Pick: Auger-Aliassime at 3

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.