Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime suffers first-round loss at Italian Open

ROME — Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime lost 6-4, 7-5 to Serbia's Filip Krajinovic in the first round of the ATP Tour's Italian Open on Monday.

Auger-Aliassime, the No. 16 seed and world No. 20, won just three of 30 points against Krajinovic's first serve at the clay-court event.

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The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime, from Montreal, was coming off a run to the round of 16 at the U.S. Open. Krajinovic, the world No. 29, made it to the third round at the New York Grand Slam.

No. 12 seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., faces Guido Pella of Argentina in a first-round match on Tuesday.

No. 13 seed Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., also kicks off his tournament on Tuesday against Adrian Mannarino of France.

Meanwhile, Benoit Paire's anger at being strictly confined at the U.S. Open after contracting the coronavirus boiled over during a farcical first-round match on Monday.

The 24th-ranked Paire threw his racket high into the air twice during one game and showed little effort against Italian teenager Jannik Sinner in a 6-2, 6-1 loss.

Paire was forced to stay in isolation in New York until he tested negative — preventing him from training. The Frenchman criticized Rome organizers for making him play on the opening day of the tournament.

"I made only one request, which is to play Tuesday to have an extra day of training after what happened to me in New York, and because I’m playing an Italian you put me on Monday," Paire tweeted on Sunday.

Twice during the second set, Paire launched his racket high into the air in frustration — the second time coming dangerously close to hitting the chair umpire.

Paire, who put on a face mask during some of the changeovers, had numerous verbal exchanges with the chair umpire but received only one warning for his behaviour.

During the final game of the match, Paire slammed returns of serve into the net in anger — with seemingly no intent of putting the ball into play. When he finally managed to get a return into play on Sinner’s first match point, Paire seemed surprised and didn’t bother running down Sinner’s reply.

"I had not played in 10 days, staying in my room," Paire said. "It was a good training, I’m happy I played one hour. I even played one hour and four minutes. I’m happy I hung on for 1:04. I gave what I could. Jannik played very well.

"The result does not really matter," Paire added. "I still have the doubles. I will try to entertain myself with Nico (Nicolas Mahut) and try to win a match."

The tournament at the Foro Italico, where spectators are barred, was rescheduled from its usual May slot due to the pandemic.

Sinner said, "On one hand I can understand, after spending so many days under quarantine in New York. … In the end, I did what I needed to." He moves on to meet third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Also in the first round, Casper Ruud of Norway rallied past Karen Khachanov 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; Borna Coric beat Cristian Garin 6-4, 6-4 and Grigor Dimitrov eliminated wild card Gianluca Mager 7-5, 6-1.

In the women’s tournament, last year’s French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova edged Donna Vekic 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6); and Magda Linette beat 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-3.

— with files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2020.

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