Carlos Alcaraz made a winning return to the ATP Tour, after being on the sidelines since November with two separate injuries.
Alcaraz won his seventh career title at the ATP 250 event in Buenos Aires, dropping only one set along the way, beating British #1 Cameron Norrie in the final.
— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) February 19, 2023
“It’s really special. As I mentioned before, I struggled for four months,” said the 19-year-old. “I didn’t do the right things off the court and I felt a little bit guilty after the injury and struggled with that; it was not easy. To come here to my first tournament after four months, and to win my first title since the US Open is a really special moment for me.”
Carlos Alcaraz’s run to the Buenos Aires title
First Round – Received a bye
Second Round – Beat Laslo Djere, 6-2 4-6 6-2
Quarterfinal – Beat Dusan Lajovic, 6-4 6-2
Semifinal – Beat Bernabe Zapata Miralles, 6-2 6-2
Final – Beat Cameron Norrie (2), 6-3 7-5
The Spaniard now turns his attention to defending the ATP 500 title he won last year, in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio Open was Alcaraz’s first title of 2022, and set the #2 on his way to winning two Masters 1000 titles and a maiden Grand Slam at the US Open.
Carlos Alcaraz’s path to retaining the Rio Open title
Alcaraz is the #1 seed in the event and this is his potential draw (based off rankings):
First Round – Mateus Alves (wildcard)
Second Round – Fabio Fognini
Quarterfinals – Diego Schwartzman (5)
Semifinals – Lorenzo Musetti (3)
Final – Cameron Norrie (2)
Having been unable to play the Australian Open, after suffering a ‘chance’ leg injury, Alcaraz surrendered his #1 ranking to Novak Djokovic. But if Alcaraz wins the title in Rio, he can pull back level on points with the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
Djokovic’s won more of those points at Grand Slams, mandatory Masters 1000 events and the ATP Finals so he will remain as the ATP #1 for at least another week whatever happens in Rio. But, with Djokovic’s Indian Wells and Miami status still hanging in the balance, the Serb may have to hand the #1 back to the Spaniard if he enjoys another successful Sunshine Double.
Main photo credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports