Dusan Lajovic rode the crest of a wave into the Mutua Madrid Open and he is yet to fall off it. The Serb sent Felix Auger-Aliassime packing on Saturday (6-2, 3-6, 7-6) for his seventh straight win on tour. The recent champion of the ATP 250 in Banja Luka needed two hours and 34 minutes to book his place in the next round.
Three of those consecutive victories were against Top 10 players. In Bosnia & Herzegovina the 32-year-old Belgrade native knocked out his compatriot, world No.1 Novak Djokovic and defeated Andrey Rublev (6) in the final. Now, in the Caja Mágica, he has added the Canadian (9) to his list of elite scalps.
It was a wet morning in the Spanish capital and the roof was closed in the Arantxa Sánchez Vicario Stadium. Unfazed, Lajovic drew on his new-found confidence to produce a display of solid baseline tennis and maintain his 100% record against Auger-Aliassime after three encounters on tour: ATP Cup (2020), Masters 1000 in Canada (2021) and the Mutua Madrid Open (2023).
Josep Perlas’ understudy will now bid for a place in the last sixteen against Jan-Lennard Struff, which would put him one step away from his best result at the Masters 1000 in the Spanish capital (2018). The German also enjoyed a hard-fought comeback on Saturday against American 32nd seed Ben Shelton, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5.