Quebecer Félix Auger-Aliassime advances to the final at the Madrid Open

Quebecer Félix Auger-Aliassime reached the final of the Madrid Open when Jiri Lehecka withdrew due to injury on Friday.

Lehecka left the field to receive treatment on his back from a trainer. He tried to continue playing, but retired three points later, with the score at 3-3 in the first set.

“I feel very bad for him,” Auger-Aliassime said. I have suffered injuries myself. We can imagine the feeling when you hope you can win, but you are unable to play. I have a lot of empathy for Jiri and I can’t do anything but prepare for Sunday. »

Auger-Aliassime didn’t even have to play in the quarterfinals, as his opponent, top seed Jannik Sinner, withdrew due to a hip injury.

The 23-year-old Quebecer also advanced to the fourth round after Czech Jakub Mensik withdrew while Auger-Aliassime led 6-1, 1-0.

” It’s crazy. I don’t know if it’s ever happened to a player before, he said. It’s a weird situation to be in. This has never happened to me in my career until now. »

When Auger-Aliassime was able to play on the pitch in Madrid, he looked good. He scored a 6-4, 7-5 victory against fifth-seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud and easily defeated Frenchman Adrian Mannarino (No. 19) in two sets of 6-0, 6-4.

In the final, Auger-Aliassime will face Andrey Rublev. The Quebecer has a 1-4 career record against the Russian, including a loss earlier this year in Rotterdam.

Rublev, the eighth-ranked player in the world, beat Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-3 earlier Friday.

Rublev entered the tournament having lost four straight matches — early exits at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

He responded with four straight victories, including over defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals.

“It’s crazy,” Rublev said. That’s the good thing about sport, about tennis. One week can change everything, you have to remember that. You can’t always perform at 100%, so it’s normal that there are ups and downs. »

Rublev is looking for his 16e career title and his second of the season, after Hong Kong in January.

Fritz was 5-3 against Rublev. He was aiming for his second title of the season after Delray Beach in February.

On Saturday, top seed Iga Swiatek will face No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka — the same final as in 2023, where Sabalenka prevailed.

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