There are two players on the ATP Tour that are yet to lose in 2023, one of them is the current world no. 1 another one is the guy chasing him.
Novak Djokovic had a perfect start to the year, winning all of his first 12 matches and lifting two trophies. On the other hand, Carlos Alcaraz couldn't play in Australia, so he started his season last year in Buenos Aires and it was a triumphant start.
The 19-year-old doesn't wait around and he immediately moved from Argentina to Brazil for the 2023 Rio Open. After defeating Mateus Alves in the first rain-delayed round, the Spaniard took on experienced Fabio Fognini in the second.
The Italian has been far from his best self lately, but against the former world no. 1, Fognini showed his best tennis. Alcaraz gained an early lead in the first set, leading 3-0 and 4-2.
But none of that was enough as his opponent was serving for a set twice. In a set full of breaks, none of the players could get the decisive one and so a tie-break had to decide. Producing some spectacular shots, Fognini was a better player in the first-set tie-break, winning it 7-5 and taking a set from the world no. 2.
But Alcaraz wouldn't do the same mistake again. Once again, he earned a quick lead in the second set, but this time he doubled down on it with another break and good serving to win the set 6-2 and force a decider in Rio de Janeiro.
The third set was yet another battle, but thanks to two early breaks, Alcaraz was able to keep his opponent under control and won the match 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 46 minutes to advance to the 2023 Rio Open quarterfinals.
Up next, the young Spaniard will meet Dusan Lajovic. The Serb will want to stop Alcaraz after previously beating the fifth-seeded Diego Schwartzman and compatriot Laslo Djere.