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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Rio Open: Carlos Alcaraz eyes No.1 spot again

Alcaraz will next play Fabio Fognini, who beat Tomas Barrios Vera 6-2, 6-3 at the clay-court tournament

AP/PTI Rio de Janeiro Published 24.02.23, 04:16 AM
Carlos Alcaraz in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

Carlos Alcaraz in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. Getty Images

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the second round of the Rio Open, with his mind already set on a year-long contest with Novak Djokovic for the No. 1 ranking.

The 19-year-old defending champion closed out the last two games of a match suspended on the previous day because of rain to complete a 6-4, 6-4 win over Mateus Alves on Wednesday.

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Alcaraz will next play Fabio Fognini, who beat Tomas Barrios Vera 6-2, 6-3 at the clay-court tournament.

The Spanish teenager was sidelined for four months with a leg muscle injury and returned to the tour last week at the Argentina Open, where he dropped only one set en route to his first title since his grand slam breakthrough at the US Open last year.

Alcaraz, who in 2021 became the first teenage year-end No. 1 in ATP history, is currently second in the rankings. He said he doesn’t feel pressure to topple Djokovic from the top but he has set that as a key goal for 2023.

“Truth is, a beautiful year awaits, with beautiful tournaments. It is true there will be a little pressure to defend important titles,” Alcaraz told a news conference.

“I have to try to win more grand slam titles, reclaim the No. 1 position. That’s what I am hoping for this year.” He has titles to defend in Rio, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid and in the last major of the season in New York.

Also on Wednesday, second-seeded Cameron Norrie advanced with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Thiago Monteiro.

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