U.S. Open Odds & Picks: Can Carlos Alcaraz Shock Felix Auger-Aliassime? (Tuesday, Sept. 7)
Credit: TPN, Getty. Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates at the 2021 US Open.
- Two future tennis stars face off on Tuesday night as Carlos Alcaraz faces Feliz Auger-Aliassime.
- The quarterfinal matchup pits the 18-year-old Spaniard against the 21-year-old Canadian, who is the No. 12 seed in the tournament.
- Avery Zimmerman and Kenny Ducey break down the match and deliver their picks below.
On Tuesday evening, Arthur Ashe stadium is in for a matchup that may serve as a preview for a significant part of the sport's future.
Two of the best young players on the tour will go to battle, as 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz takes on 21-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime for a place in the U.S. Open semifinals.
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Carlos Alcaraz Odds
|Tuesday, 7:15 p.m. ET (subject to change)
|Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
Auger-Aliassime Firing on All Cylinders
Coming into the U.S. Open, Auger-Aliassime had built up a list of great wins throughout the summer. During the grass season, the Canadian took out Roger Federer and Hubert Hurkacz in Halle before adding another landmark win in the fourth round of Wimbledon against Alexander Zverev.
It's not a streak that has come easy for Auger-Aliassime though, as he went through a rough patch at the beginning of the year. The then 20 year-old had an opportunity to earn his first ATP title in Melbourne, but put in a dismal performance against Dan Evans that included an onslaught of unforced errors and a poor 6-4 ace to double fault ratio. In the summer hardcourt swing after the grass season, though, it looked like it was going to be a similar story.
Auger-Aliassime fell out of the Olympics in both singles and mixed doubles without a win, and only won one of his first three matches in Washington and Toronto. Fortunately for Auger-Aliassime, the flip switched in Cincinnati. He earned impressive wins against Marton Fucsovics, Olympic finalist Karen Khachanov and Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini in quick succession. He lost the quarterfinal to Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets, but the tone was set for the U.S. Open.
Early nerves against Evgeny Donskoy in the first round were quelled in emphatic fashion with a straight sets victory against Bernabe Zapata Miralles. Auger-Aliassime found himself in a third round battle against Roberto Bautista Agut, when he won the first two sets before experiencing a drop in his level in the following two. Auger-Aliassime was persistent and found his strokes again in the fifth set, coming out with a massive victory.
In the fourth round, a battle with a highly in-form Frances Tiafoe was a tough proposition, but Auger-Aliassime passed with flying colors. He won 84% of his first serve points, compared to his season average of 74%, and had 24 aces to 8 double faults, far more impactful than his 2-1 ace to double fault ratio in 2021. Better yet, Auger-Aliassime's best play came in big moments of the match.
Considering that Auger-Aliassime's struggles typically come in the form of unforced errors and double faults — symptoms of tightness — his last two matches should provide him with great confidence heading into his match with Alcaraz.
Alcaraz Introducing Himself on the Big Stage
Young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz isn't coming out of nowhere — the El Palmar native has an ATP title to his name (2021 Umag) — but the results he's had at the U.S. Open thus far are nothing short of incredible.
Alcaraz was a +150 dog in his first round win against Cam Norrie, then battled through a tough second round against Arthur Rinderknech, won as a +350 dog against Stefanos Tsitsipas and outlasted in-form Peter Gojowczyk in the fourth round to reach the quarters.
Known as a clay-court specialist, Alcaraz is quickly showing the tennis world that he's capable of achieving important results on other surfaces. His win against world number three Tsitsipas showed why that is a reality for Alcaraz.
Hard court players and clay court players tend to have much different skill sets, and the same is true for Alcaraz. He has weapons that are standard for a player who prefers clay, with heavy topspin strokes — particularly the forehand — fundamental aspects of his game. But Alcaraz has shown his ability to mold that skillset for multi-surface success.
Against Tsitsipas, Alcaraz displayed an aggressive game style in which he continually tried to take the initiative in points, not an easy task against a player with the weapons that the Greek has. Alcaraz flattened and deepened his strokes, playing powerful tennis without being reckless.
Even more impressive? He did it without a big serving performance, typically a key feature of upsets. The 55th-ranked player in the world only hit two aces, and won 60% of his points behind his first and second serve. Alcaraz didn't change his game in big moments, didn't show any signs of tightness, and stayed the course to win his third match point after two lost on serve.
After the win, Alcaraz officially became a mainstream player.
Avery Zimmerman: With all of the context set out above, it's clear that this is a match that will feature fireworks. Both players have the ability to play with flair, play with power and maintain their level in big moments. The difference for me is one player's ability to adapt to different opponents better than the other.
I'm talking about Alcaraz, who has shown a unique ability to play in different ways depending on his opponent. Against Tsitsipas, he was forced to take the initiative. Against Norrie, he was able to engage in longer rallies and wait for mistakes. I think he'll be able to merge those two game styles in this quarterfinal to find success.
Auger-Aliassime is the type of athlete that is going to try and try again. He wants to impose his will on you — and he can — but there is no question when he comes into the match that he's going to try and break his opponent down with a heavy serve and strokes. It doesn't really matter who is on the other side of the court, that is what Auger-Aliassime is going to try and accomplish.
I believe that he's going to encounter some difficulty when trying to do that against Alcaraz, who will be more than happy to soak up the pressure and fire back with deep balls played with more margin.
With that game plan in mind, I'm confident that Alcaraz will compete well for another big win and big moment.
Pick: Carlos Alcaraz +175 (Caesars)
Kenny Ducey: All good things must come to an end, though, and I think that’ll be the case when the promising young Spaniard is sent packing.
Watching young Felix on Sunday, it was impossible to ignore how good he looked. We’ve seen the Canadian peak several times over the last year, and we’ve seen him revert back to his old erroring ways every time. It seems this is one of those peaks, however, and with his level of talent he can beat just about anyone on tour when he’s playing with confidence.
As much as I’ve sung the praises of Alcaraz all summer long, I’m just not sure I can trust him in this spot. Auger-Aliassime has more Grand Slam experience, and with that better fitness. It’s been noticeable how the fatigue is beginning to pile up for Alcaraz, who struggled to hang with Peter Gojowcyk for five sets and was let off the hook when the German himself ran out of gas.
Auger-Aliassime is absolutely crushing his forehand right now, and even with Alcaraz’s tremendous defense I’m just not sure he can get some of these back. When you mix in FAA’s speed, he should be able to follow his forehand into the net all night long and finish points convincingly. Alcaraz redlined with his huge forehands against Stefanos Tsitsipas, but that precision was noticeably lacking in his fourth-round win.
Alcaraz absolutely has the ability to surpass Auger-Aliassime over the next year with consistency, but I don’t think he’s quite at his level right now. FAA should bully him from the baseline, and with the exceptional way he’s been serving, should be a very difficult man to break. I’ve been incredibly impressed with his last couple of wins and think it’s time to take a deep breath and back the Canadian with confidence.
Pick: Felix Auger-Aliassime -1.5 sets -105 (DraftKings)