Alcaraz Learns His Route To Title For First Event Since Australian Open Heartbreak

Alcaraz Learns His Route To Title For First Event Since Australian Open Heartbreak

by Nurein Ahmed

Carlos Alcaraz returns to action at the Argentina Open, looking to defend his title but, most importantly, end a famine that has gone over six months.

Alaceraz is the top seed in Buenos Aires, with main draw action at the ATP 250 tournament kicking off on Monday, February 12th. The Spaniard last lifted gold at the 2023 Wimbledon Championships, beating Novak Djokovic in a thrilling final.

Since then, he has been to one final, losing to Djokovic in the longest best-of-three-set final in ATP history at the Cincinnati Masters. That was last August, and Alcaraz has not been anywhere near a title match. His most recent tournament was at the 2024 Australian Open.

There, he lost to Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinal stage despite being close to reclaiming the No. 1 ranking. Now, he will look to rediscover that winning feeling again because, for a player of his caliber, six months is a stretch that can be considered a drought.

The draw for the Argentina Open was released on Saturday night, where the 20-year-old learned his path to the title. Alcaraz features in the top half of the draw and has a bye in the first round. And here's what his potential draw could look like in Buenos Aires.

Second Round: Varillas/Qualifier

Alcaraz will begin his title defense, likely on Wednesday, against either Peruvian No. 1 Juan Pablo Varillas or a qualifier. He leads Varillas 1-0 in their head-to-head, having defeated him at the 2020 Biella Challenger (7-6 in the third).

Quarterfinal: Seyboth Wild/Djere

Alcaraz only needs to win one match to book his spot in the quarterfinals. There, he will most likely face one of Brazil's Thiago Seyboth Wild or World No. 35 Laslo Djere. If he meets the Serb, it would be a rematch from the 2023 Argentina Open, when Alcaraz won in three sets.

Semifinal: Jarry/Wawrinka/Etcheverry

From the semifinal, things begin to look a little bit more challenging. If Alcaraz manages to avoid a major shock in his first two matches, he could meet third seed Nicolas Jarry in the last four. The Chilean was placed in the top half but in a more difficult section.

Jarry could meet Stan Wawrinka in his opening match, with the winner of that contest projected to meet sixth seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the quarterfinal. In all likelihood, Alcaraz could potentially draw one of those three names in the semifinal.

Final: Norrie/Cerundolo/Baez

If the seedings hold, Alcaraz might set up a rematch of the 2023 final in which he defeated British No. 1 Cameron Norrie in straight sets. Norrie has been in great form, reaching the second week of the Australian Open and losing to Alexander Zverev.

But given his occasional lack of composure, he might hit a brick wall, possibly in the second round against Sebastian Ofner. Francisco Cerundolo looks like a great candidate to make the final here, especially when you consider Sebastian Baez's long week in Cordoba—all three feature in the bottom half.


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