Davidovich loses three-hour match to Augier-Aliassime in Rome

In a long battle reminiscent of the one he fought at the Australian Open, the Andalusian failed to take advantage of several key chances against the Canadian

PEDRO LUIS ALONSO MALAGA.

Alejandro Davidovich (ranked 27th) recorded yet another defeat in a match that he was tantalisingly close to winning. It was déjà vu for the Rincón de la Victoria local, who lost 6-4, 6-7 (2) and 2-6 in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open to Felix Augier-Aliassime (9th), in what was a gruelling battle that lasted three hours.

The match was strangely similar to the match that both players took part in at the Australian Open in January: Davidovich dominated in the majority of the points and he took the initiative at the baseline, but was ultimately defeated by the Canadian, who proved to be very effective when it came to the most crucial points.

The tiebreaker was once again a determining factor. Davidovich was showing an unusually solid version of himself, and he played for over two hours without suffering a break and giving his opponent only one chance to do so. But that still wouldn't be enough. The Andalusian squandered seven break points and showed an unrecognisable version of himself during the second-set tiebreaker, ceding six consecutive points to Augier-Aliassime.

Even then, with both players winning a set, Davidovich dominated in the overall points scored, leading the Canadian 81-78, again reminiscent of the match in Australia, where the Rincón local won on points (168-162) but lost 1-3 in sets.

There was another key factor that would determine the match's outcome: Davidovich had played another three-hour match the day before, while Augier-Aliassime received a bye. The Andalusian's fatigue was noticeable in the third and final set, and he had the crowd against him as he protested several of the umpire's calls.

Davidovich's exhaustion really stood out by the time the tiebreaker came around, even though he had been on top for those initial two hours. He made several mistakes and was later unable to pick himself up as the match entered its final stages. Augier-Aliassime only grew stronger, especially when he hit some spectacular shots. The Canadian has been in good form all year, heavily helped by his advisor Toni Nadal (Rafa Nadal's uncle).

Alejandro Davidovich, who hasn't registered to play in either Lyon or Geneva but could take part as a wildcard, now has a two-week break before Roland Garros gets under way in Paris, which will be the end of the clay court season.