Sports, Tennis

Alcaraz downs Carabelli to reach quarters

Published : 16 Feb 2024 08:55 PM

Carlos Alcaraz reached the quarter-finals of the Buenos Aires ATP tournament on Thursday, defeating a player who once worked as an entertainment park pirate.

World number two and defending champion Alcaraz beat 134th-ranked Camilo Ugo Carabelli 6-2, 7-5 in his first match since a shock quarter-final exit at the Australian Open.

Carabelli, who lives just a handful of blocks away from the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, came through qualifying to reach the main draw of the clay-court event.

The 24-year-old was a late convert to tennis after spending his teenage summers playing the role of a pirate for his grandfather's tourist company in Brazil.

After Alcaraz swept through the opening set, the Argentine outsider steadied the ship, carving out a break of serve for an early lead in the second.

Spanish star Alcaraz retrieved the break immediately and served for the match at 5-3.

However, Carabelli broke back, saved a match point and then another to level the set at 5-5.

Alcaraz held for 6-5 before his opponent finally cracked in the 12th game of a nervy tie which featured a total of 11 service breaks.

“It was a really tough match. He's a really good fighter, a really good player with good rhythm. He was really tough to beat," said Alcaraz.

“I started really nervous, I'm not going to lie, with the crowd behind him, supporting him. I think it's normal, obviously, but really happy with my first match on clay since the French Open. Hopefully I can keep going better and better."

Two-time Grand Slam title winner Alcaraz will face another qualifier, Italy's 152nd-ranked Andrea Vavassori for a spot in the semi-finals.

Second seed Cameron Norrie, who was the runner-up to Alcaraz at the tournament in 2023, was knocked out by Argentina's Federico Coria 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.