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Preview: Carlos Alcaraz vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime - prediction, form guide, head-to-head

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Monte Carlo Masters second-round match between Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime, including predictions, form and head-to-head record.

Since this preview was published, Alcaraz has withdrawn from the tournament due to injury.

Carlos Alcaraz's quest for Monte Carlo Masters glory begins on Wednesday, as the third seed clashes with Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round.

While Alcaraz received a bye into the last 64 of the tournament, his Canadian foe had to come through a first-round test with Italian qualifier Luca Nardi, but he did so with aplomb.

Match preview

Carlos Alcaraz in action at the Miami Open on March 27, 2024© Reuters

The 2022 and 2023 ATP Tour seasons saw Alcaraz come so close yet so far to completing a coveted sunshine double, as while winning Indian Wells in the latter year and triumphing at the 2022 Miami Open, he fell at the semi-final stage of the other springtime ATP 1000 tournament.

By managing to defend his Indian Wells crown with victory over Daniil Medvedev in the 2024 final, the Spaniard took another step towards winning the two opening Masters tournaments of the year, only for his Miami run to end at the hands of eventual runner-up Grigor Dimitrov.

Alcaraz has not been in top-level action since that shock 2-6 4-6 loss to the Bulgarian in Florida, and the reigning Wimbledon champion sparked concern when he was pictured with protective padding on his right arm during training for the Monte Carlo tournament.

Apparently restricted to forehand slices rather than the ferocious shots we have become accustomed to seeing from the third seed, Alcaraz's physical condition remains the subject of much uncertainty, but the 20-year-old is still on track to compete in Monte Carlo for just the second time.

Alcaraz's only previous appearance at the ATP 1000 tournament in 2022 saw him eliminated in the second round at the hands of Sebastian Korda, before he sat out the 2023 edition due to injury, and Monte Carlo remains the only Masters competition that he has not earned his maiden singles victory in.

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime in action during the final against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas on February 13, 2022© Reuters

In contrast, upcoming foe Auger-Aliassime already has one success under his belt from the current Monte Carlo competition, pitting his wits against Italian 20-year-old Nardi after the qualifier stunned Novak Djokovic during the recent Indian Wells Masters.

However, Nardi could not replicate his giant-killing feats as Auger-Aliassime strolled to a 6-2 6-3 victory in just one hour and 22 minutes, in which he blasted 21 winners past the Italian qualifier and did not give his youthful foe a single opportunity to break.

Working the deep baseline position to brilliant effect, Auger-Aliassime wrapped up a dominant first set with an exquisite forehand winner down the line, before smashing another ferocious shot from that side on his first match point after Nardi gambled on the cross-court attempt.

Now on a 9-8 record from an unspectacular start to the year, the Canadian is out to rid himself of a Masters curse, as he has only progressed past the second round of one of his last eight ATP 1000 appearances, while he is yet to reach round three or beyond in Monte Carlo.

In fact, the current tournament is just one of two Masters events that Auger-Aliassime has failed to make the quarter-finals - the other being Shanghai - and since reaching his first two ATP Tour finals on the clay in 2019, he is yet to make another showpiece match on the surface.

Tournament so far

Felix Auger-Aliassime:

First round: vs. Luca Nardi 6-2 6-3

Head To Head

Indian Wells Masters (2024) - Third round: Alcaraz wins 6-2 6-3
Indian Wells Masters (2023) - Quarter-final: Alcaraz wins 6-4 6-4
Swiss Open (2022) - Semi-final: Auger-Aliassime wins 6-3 6-2
Davis Cup (2022) - Round Robin: Auger-Aliassime wins 6-7[3] 6-4 6-2
US Open (2021) - Quarter-final: Auger-Aliassime wins 6-3 3-1 ret.

While Alcaraz and Auger-Aliassime have never squared off on clay before, the youthful pair have already clashed five times on the ATP Tour, and it is the Canadian who boasts a slight 3-2 head-to-head advantage.

However, all three of those successes came in their first three meetings - a 2021 US Open quarter-final that Alcaraz had to retire injured from, a closely-contested 2022 Davis Cup contest and a semi-final in Basel two years ago, which Auger-Aliassime won convincingly.

Since that Swiss triumph for the world number 35, Alcaraz has earned back-to-back triumphs in the last two editions of the Indian Wells Masters, making light work of the 23-year-old in a 6-2 6-3 triumph just a few weeks ago.

SM words green background

We say: Alcaraz to win in three sets

Whether Alcaraz's dialled-down training was simply precautionary or indicative of a more serious problem is not known, but should the Spaniard not be comfortable blasting his venomous forehands, Auger-Aliassime should have a glint in his eyes.

The Canadian was on top form against Nardi in his opening match, but even if he does manage to win a set against the physically-hampered Alcaraz, he has not shown the consistency in 2024 to make us believe that he can pull off a shock scalp of the third seed.

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