Carlos Alcaraz Wins Buenos Aires Title In Season Debut | ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz went more than three months without a competitive match as he recovered from abdominal and hamstring injuries. This week at the Argentina Open, it looked like the Spaniard had never left.
The World No. 2 overwhelmed second seed Cameron Norrie 6-3, 7-5 on Sunday to claim his seventh ATP Tour title and his first since last year’s US Open. Alcaraz lost just one set in his four victories at the Buenos Aires ATP 250, in his first match back against Laslo Djere. By improving to 7-2 in tour-level finals, Alcaraz moved within 590 points of No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
“I felt very comfortable playing the final,” Alcaraz said post-match. “I knew that it was going to be really difficult. I started really focussed on what I had to do at the beginning, my game, my level. This is the level that I have to play in finals.”
The 19-year-old used a seven-game surge to take command of the final against Norrie, turning an early 2-3 deficit in to a 6-3, 3-0 lead as his relentless pressure reaped rewards. Alcaraz did not face a break point until he failed to serve out the match in a nervy 5-3 game.
Down 0/15 while serving at 5-5, the Spaniard bravely roped a forehand swinging volley to reassert himself. The next game was the longest of the match, as Alcaraz battled through two deuces before sealing victory with a forehand drop shot — a tactic he turned to time and again throughout the week.
Copy That! Carlos Alcaraz Sparks Player Surge In This Tactic…
After winning his first tour-level title in 2021 (Umag) and five more last season, Alcaraz is quickly off the mark in 2023. He became the first Spaniard to win the Buenos Aires trophy since Rafael Nadal in 2015 and tied Gustavo Kuerten as the highest-ranked winner in tournament history at No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Alcaraz is also the first teenager to win the event, with Casper Ruud the youngest previous winner at age 21 in 2020.
Norrie fell to 4-9 in tour-level finals with the defeat, but his three victories on the week drew him level with Stefanos Tsitsipas for the most tour-level wins this season with 13. The 27-year-old was seeking to match his biggest career win by measure of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, after his victory against then-World No. 2 Rafael Nadal at the United Cup last month.