Argentina Open 2024: Top seed Alcaraz beats Vavassori to reach semis

Diaz Acosta and Coria will play an all-Argentine semi final on Saturday

This week, the Herald is reporting on the ground from the Argentina Open, so check back for updates!

Last updated: February 16, 9:20 p.m.

The night shift opened with the biggest game of the day as Spanish top seed Carlos Alcaraz (2nd ATP singles ranked) faced off against Italian Andrea Vavassori (152), one of the tournament’s biggest surprises. 

Alcaraz, the defending champion at the Argentina Open, had made it clear why he chose to return. “The vibe and the energy you live here are very special,” he said during a press conference before the tournament.

“Compared to last year, things have improved a lot. The public is always very involved in the match, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this tournament becomes an ATP 500,” said Alcaraz about the Argentina Open, which had its upgrade bid rejected by the ATP in November 2023. 

An inspired Vavassori held his own in the first set, with class touches in and around the net that amazed the crowd, and forcing a tie break. However, the difference in class between the players showed in the decider, where Alcaraz dominated to win 7/6 (1).

In the second set, Alcaraz took control of the game, breaking Vavassori’s serve twice to build an unassailable lead. He wrapped the match with his serve for the final 6-1.

Wrapping up the day shift were Sebastían Báez (30th ATP singles ranked) and Federico Coria (106). Coria, who was fresh off beating British second seed Cameron Norrie, earned another shock win as he beat Báez 6-1, 6-4. 

Báez struggled in the first set, erratic in his groundstrokes. Coria took advantage of that and quickly broke two of his serves, wrapping the set 6-1.

The second set started with another quick break by Coria. Báez fought to close the advantage, but had his serve broken again at 2-2. With Coria incredibly solid from all over the court, the Davis Cup hero was unable to recover and fell 6-4.

Coria reached his 6th ATP Tour semifinal, and is now just one game away from matching the performances of his brother Guillermo, who was an Argentina Open finalist in 2003 and champion in 2004.

“I think today I played some great tennis,” said Coria after the game. “Games like this with such difficult rivals force you to play very well. The beautiful thing about playing at this level is that you have to improve or it won’t be enough, and I played the kind of match my team is always pushing me to believe I can play.”

“I’m very superstitious,” admitted Coria when asked about his pregame routines in this historic run. “I try not to change my routines. I know it makes no difference but I just think ‘if it’s not broken…’”

All four quarter finals games will be played on day five of the Argentine Open, as we enter the defining stages of the tournament. Argentine Facundo Díaz Acosta (87th ATP singles ranked) opened the day shift beating Serbian Dusan Lajovic (58) 6-4, 6-3.

Díaz Acosta started the game on the right foot, breaking Lajovic’s first turn at serve for 2-0. The Argentine held the advantage, playing an aggressive and offensive style, but failed at the last hurdle, conceding his serve at 5-3. However, he was able to recover, breaking the Serbian’s serve again to wrap up the first set 6-4.

The second set was much more closely contested, until Díaz Acosta managed to break at 3-2. It was smooth sailing for him from there, closing the set 6-3 with his serve. He will now face the winner of the duel between Federico Coria and Sebastián Báez in his first-ever ATP Tour semifinals appearance on Saturday.

“Bit by bit I’m feeling more part of these kinds of tournaments,” Díaz Acosta told the Herald and other media after the game. “These will be my first semis, and last week I had my first quarters.”

A series of losses have helped him learn. “You start to feel more confident and starting last year, things began to click,” he said.

Díaz Acosta is often seen closing his eyes and controlling his breathing during games. “Two years ago I started working with a mental coach,” he said. “I try not to have my mind wander during games, to stay a bit more in the present.”


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