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Ricky’s preview and pick for the Basel semifinal between Alcaraz and Auger-Aliassime

Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers and for the second time this fall when they battle for a spot in the final of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Saturday.

Both of their previous meetings have gone Auger-Aliassime’s way. He advanced to the 2021 U.S. Open semifinals via a second-set retirement and more recently he took down Alcaraz 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 to begin the current hard-court swing with Davis Cup Finals round-robin competition.

It has only been full steam ahead for Auger-Aliassime since that result. The ninth-ranked Canadian is coming off back-to-back titles in Florence and Antwerp and his winning streak has extended to 11 matches with Basel victories over Marc-Andrea Huesler, Miomir Kecmanovic, and Alexander Bublik. After going three sets with Huesler, Auger-Aliassime humiliated Kecmanovic 6-1, 6-0 and disposed of Bublik 6-2, 6-3.

“It was a good match,” the 22-year-old said after beating Bublik. “It is so important for me to stay disciplined and focus on my serve. I haven’t been broken in the whole tournament and today was a good effort on staying focused on my serve. I was able to seize a few opportunities. The first break was important. To take that pressure off myself from the beginning. It is the best way to start the match.

“In the past two months I have been training much better and very locked in and focused on what I need to do. I am trying to put it on display.”

Alcaraz’s display of tennis has been so consistent and so good all year long that has rocketed to No. 1 in the world. Understandably, though, a post-U.S. Open dip may be in progress. The 19-year-old Spaniard lost to Auger-Aliassime in Davis Cup and then was upset right away in Astana by David Goffin. Like Auger-Aliassime, Alcaraz dropped a set in his Basel opener (d. Jack Draper 3-6, 6-2, 7-5) before cruising through two rounds in straight sets (d. Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-2 and d. Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-4).

His reward is another shot at Auger-Aliassime.

“It is going to be a really tough match,” Alcaraz assured. “He is playing really well. He has had great victories this year. I will have to be really focused. I will try to show my best tennis against him.”

This should be a competitive contest, but winning breeds more winning and that is exactly what Auger-Aliassime is doing right now. His confidence level may carry him through the tight moments in each set.

Pick: Auger-Aliassime in 2

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.