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Auger-Aliassime beats Rune for Basel title

BASEL: Felix Auger-Aliassime won his third title in as many weeks on Sunday as he defeated Holger Rune 6-3, 7-5 in the ATP final in Basel.

The ninth-ranked Canadian climbed to provisional sixth in the season points race to the eight-man ATP Finals in Turin from November 13.

Auger-Aliassime added the Swiss trophy to titles in Florence and Antwerp, with his win streak now at 13 in a row.

Stockholm champion Rune had won his last nine. Rune saved two match points and the Dane also drew an unsportsmanlike conduct warning after loudly complaining about what he said was a blinking light in an on-court advert which he said distracted him in the second set.

“I feel over the moon,” Auger-Aliassime said after claiming his fourth trophy of the season.

“It’s been an amazing week, not getting broken. It’s been a dream for me, fantastic.”

The Canadian finished with 28 winners and the same in unforced errors for a match lasting just under an hour and three-quarters.

Auger-Aliassime sent over 11 aces and broke his teenaged opponent ranked 25th once per set.

“It’s been a long year, a long stretch of wins,” said the player who was last defeated on October 3 in Astana by Roberto Bautista Agut.

“It’s not over, hopefully I can keep going. I’m feeling all the good emotions that come with winning a tournament.

“The Canadian took early control with the first break of Rune all week as he earned a 3-1 margin.”

He then got out of a 0-30 situation in the next game, holding for 4-1 as Rune’s frustration began to show.

Auger-Aliassime held with an ace for 5-2 and claimed the set 6-3 after 34 minutes.

The second set was tighter, with the Canadian third seed breaking for 6-5 after his opponent saved four break points and the frustrated Ruud was warned for ball abuse.

A game later, Auger-Aliassime let out a scream as he took victory when Rune sent a return long.

“This week I’ve played some of my best tennis, everything I believe I could do is coming together,” Auger-Aliassime said.

“It’s a great feeling, it’s different to believe you can do well in training and then execute on court.

“I’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction the last few weeks. If I look at myself a year ago, I’m a better player.”

Rune was also pleased with his showing. “I’ve played some good tennis the last few weeks, I’ve been able to dictate when I had the chance.

“But Felix’s serve was the best I’ve ever played against. It is super-precise.

“When I had a couple of break points, he served aces, I can’t blame myself for that, but I could have had more focus on my serve today.”

Rune begins next week at the Paris Masters against Stan Wawrinka and will break into the ranking top 20 for the first time.

“I’ve played a lot of matches day-in and day-out. But I’m super happy with the last two weeks,” he said.

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