Canadian tennis phenom Félix Auger-Aliassime was just one point away from his first Grand Slam on Sunday in the French Open boys singles final.
The 15-year-old from Montreal was unable to accomplish the feat, falling 1-6, 6-3, 8-6 to unseeded Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France at Roland Garros.
"I was devastated after I lost the match point," Auger-Aliassime said. "But after speaking with my coaches, I realize that this was a very good experience."
Auger-Aliassime would have become the first Canadian to win a junior Grand Slam title since Filip Peliwo won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2012.
The 11th-seeded Auger-Aliassime was the favourite in the final against Blancaneaux. He started the match with powerful ground strokes and a strong serve – easily winning the first set.
Blancaneaux, who had never won a match in any of the Grand Slam tournaments he entered before the French Open, broke the Canadian's serve to take a 2-0 lead in the second. The Frenchman went on to take the second set with a combination of crafty ground strokes and exceptional court coverage.
Both players broke each other in a close third set. Auger-Aliassime had two match points while leading 6-5 and Blancaneaux serving, but couldn't capitalize. Auger-Aliassime missed an easy forehand on the first match point before Blancaneaux delivered an ace on the second attempt.
Auger-Aliassime had one more match point denied by Blancaneaux, who eventually held serve at 6-6 and then broke the Canadian to take the lead at 7-6. Blancaneaux capitalized on his first match-point opportunity to take the title.
"He really pushed me to the limit," said Blancaneaux, who had beaten Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., in the semi-finals Saturday.
Auger-Aliassime, who won the U.S. Open doubles title in 2015 with Shapovalov, was staying positive postmatch.
"At 15 years old, I realize my potential and what I am able of accomplishing.
"I hope to win a title like this one in Paris soon."