World number two Carlos Alcaraz, who missed four months with injuries, cruised into the final of his comeback event on Saturday at the ATP Argentina Open.
The 19-year-old Spaniard who captured last year’s US Open title dispatched compatriot Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2, 6-2 in 77 minutes to book a Sunday championship date with Britain’s Cameron Norrie.
Top seed Alcaraz is playing in his first tournament since last year’s Paris Masters after suffering an abdominal tear and in January said he would miss the Australian Open with a right hamstring injury.
Just reaching the clay-court championship match against second-seeded Norrie has great meaning for Alcaraz.
“It’s a really special moment for me,” Alcaraz said. “I was a little bit down after the injury, so I had to recover in those four months the confidence and the rhythm.
“Coming back for my first tournament of 2023 and making the final is so special for me.”
Alcaraz has a 3-1 career record against Norrie, who beat Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in an hour and 54 minutes in Saturday’s other semi-final.
The Briton, however, won his most recent matchup last year on a Cincinnati hardcourt.
“Really tough player,” Alcaraz said of Norrie. “I have to give everything I have in the final. I’m going to say it’s going to be a really tough final, but at the same time a beautiful one.”
Alcaraz seeks his seventh career ATP title, his fifth on clay, and his first since capturing his first Grand Slam title last year in New York.
Norrie, 27, seeks his fifth career ATP title and his first since last May on clay at Lyon. It’s the left-hander’s first final since losing to France’s Richard Gasquet last month in Auckland.
“I lost a tough final in Auckland, so hopefully I can get some good feelings back tomorrow in the final,” Norrie said.
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