Argentina Open: Carlos Alcaraz took another firm step and will seek the title against Cameron Norrie

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The Spanish Carlos Alcaraz continues at a steady pace in Buenos Aires and will play the final (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
The Spanish Carlos Alcaraz continues at a steady pace in Buenos Aires and will play the final (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

The Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraztop seed for the title, had another forceful performance in the Argentina Open and will define the title this Sunday against the British Cameron Norrie. The great promise of the circuit had no problem leaving his compatriot on the road Bernabé Zapata Miralles by 6-2 and 6-2 in the second semifinal game of the day.

Alcaraz, second in the ATP world ranking behind the Serbian Novak Djokovic, delighted the public that filled the central court of the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club in his victory over Zapata Miralles (74) which was completed in an hour and a quarter. The tennis player born in El Palmar, Murcia, 19 years ago and number one in the world until Djokovic took it from him last month, will jump back onto the court to chase the first crown of 2023 this Sunday not before 4:00 p.m.

Norrie (12th), seeded second in the tournament, started the action of the day, ending the illusion of the great surprise of the draw, the Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas. The South American, 101st in the ranking, could not find his footing this time and said goodbye after battling: he fell 7-6 (5) and 6-4.

The British Cameron Norrie eliminated the Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
The British Cameron Norrie eliminated the Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Alcaraz entered the tournament directly in the round of 16 and eliminated two Serbs, Laszlo Djere (57) y Dusan Lajovic (90), before facing Zapata Miralles, who had left his compatriot Pedro Martínez (73) and two Argentines on the road: Diego Schwartzman (32) y Francisco Cerundolo (30). The Murcian, who plays his first tournament in the last 109 days in Buenos Aires due to a couple of injuries that kept him away from the circuit, did not want to take risks and tried to qualify without fluctuations.

The current US Open champion, who had beaten Zapata Miralles at the 2021 edition of Roland Garros, and had lost the final of the 2020 Italian Challenger at Cordenons, got the first lead when he broke serve and went ahead 2-1 . That break was not the only one, as he once again seized his compatriot’s serve to go ahead 5-2 and then closed with his own 6-2 in 37 minutes. In the second set, the public was able to enjoy Alcaraz more, who with the advantage of a set up showed a good part of his repertoire.

Alcaraz made no concessions and attacked Zapata Miralles until he achieved a new break that allowed him to take a 2-1 lead and with the game almost resolved, since he later expanded to 4-1 and became the total dominator of the scene.

The Murcian, followed from the audience by Gabriela Sabatini, the best Argentine tennis player in history who did not miss any of her three matches in Buenos Aires, made it clear that she came to take the trophy, that a Spaniard was champion for the last time in the 2015 edition, when his idol: Rafael Nadal won it.

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Alcaraz closed the game 6-2 and celebrated with the public, who once again gave him a thunderous ovation in recognition of his talent and perhaps because they also sensed that it will be difficult to see him often in Buenos Aires, at least in the short term. A while earlier, Cameron Norrie became the first Briton to reach the final of the Argentina Open after winning in straight sets over the Peruvian Varillas.

Norrie is 27 years old and has won four ATP titles (Indian Wells and Los Cabos in 2021 and Delray Beach and Lyon in 2022). The Murcian will try to seize the seventh professional crown of his career, after those he obtained in Umag 2021, Rio de Janeiro, Masters 1000 in Miami and Madrid, the Conde de Godó in Barcelona and the US Open, the most important of all , during 2022.

Alcaraz has already achieved something that has not happened since the 2016 edition of the Argentina Open, that a Spaniard plays the final, since Nicolas Almagro lost that year’s definition to Dominic Thiem.

*With information from Telam

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