Alcaraz into Argentina Open semi-finals
No. 1 Carlos Alcaras managed to overcome the damp and cold to advance to the semi-finals of the Argentine Open on Friday, defeating Serb Dusan Lajovic in straight sets.
The world number two Spanish player, who returns to tennis at this week’s tournament in Buenos Aires after a four-month break due to injury, slipped into the bottom four with a 6-4, 6-2 win in 1 hour and 33 minutes.
Friday’s quarter-finals took place in cold conditions after a week of extreme weather in Buenos Aires, with temperatures rising from 38.1 C (100.6 degrees F) last Sunday to 7.9 C (46.2 F) on Thursday.
However, the weather didn’t stop about 5,000 fans from filling the court of Guillermo Vilas at the Buenos Aires Tennis Club to watch Alcaraz advance to the bottom four.
Alcaraz, who looked rusty in his first match of the tournament on Wednesday, got off to a strong start with a 3-0 lead before relinquishing the lead, allowing Lajovic to equalize at 4-4.
The 19-year-old then pinned and broke Lajovic to win the first set.
Alcaraz was stronger in the second, quickly opening up a big lead before taking the win with a firm winner on the right.
“It was very different from what we are used to – it was raining and it was cold,” Alcaraz said of the conditions.
“But the daily work of a tennis player is to adapt to the conditions, and I think it turned out to be a great match.
“I performed very well, I played at a great level, but I want to keep improving in the semi-finals.”
Alcaraz will face either Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo, the fifth seed, or Spaniard Bernabé Zapata Miralles in the last four matches.
On the other side of the draw, Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas will play Britain’s Cameron Norrie for a place in the final.
In the quarter-finals, Varillas beat Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti, who finished third, 6-4, 6-4.
Meanwhile, second-placed Norrie beat Argentina’s Thomas Etcheverri 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 to book his place in the semi-finals.