Carlos Alcaraz Reflects on Buenos Aires Setback: 'Tough Loss, Tough Lessons'

Carlos Alcaraz lost in the Buenos Aires semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
Carlos Alcaraz Reflects on Buenos Aires Setback: 'Tough Loss, Tough Lessons'
© Marcelo Endelli / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Carlos Alcaraz failed to defend his Buenos Aires title, falling in the semi-final to Nicolas Jarry in straight sets. World no. 2 has yet to lift a trophy following his second Major crown at Wimbledon in July last year, struggling to produce his A-game.

Alcaraz is aware of his issues, admitting he has yet to make improvements in comparison to his game from the first half of 2023. Carlos will seek necessary improvements ahead of Indian Wells and Miami, and the first test comes next week in Rio de Janeiro.

Buenos Aires was Alcaraz's first clay-court event since last year, and he did not produce his best tennis despite a solid run and many booming winners from his forehand. The Spaniard highlighted his ups and downs, confessing he has to play better to chase titles.

Carlos Alcaraz, Buenos Aires 2024© Marcelo Endelli / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Carlos kicked off the title defense against Camilo Ugo Carabelli and scored a 6-2, 7-5 victory in an hour and 45 minutes. The Spaniard claimed every return game in the opening set before struggling in the second, winning only two out of 17 points behind the second serve and delivering his worst numbers in that segment on the ATP level!

The Argentine stole 46% of the return points and converted them into four breaks from nine chances. Carlos responded with rock-slid numbers on the return, stealing 59% of the points and breaking his opponent seven times from 18 opportunities.

They kicked off the duel with four consecutive breaks before Carlos clinched every game from 2-2, delivering his fourth break and wrapping up the opener 6-2 in 33 minutes. Ugo Carabelli grabbed an early break in the second set and forged a 2-0 advantage with a crafty volley winner in game two.

Alcaraz converted the seventh break chance in the fourth game, locking the result at 2-2 and erasing the deficit. The Spaniard secured another break in game six after the rival's double fault, moving closer to the finish line.

Carlos served for the win at 5-3 and squandered a match point. Ugo broke back, reducing the deficit and extending his chances. The Argentine saved another match point on serve in game ten after the Spaniard's backhand error and held for 5-5 with a backhand down the line winner.

Carlos faced three break points in the 11th game, denying them with winners and gaining a boost.

Carlos Alcaraz understands he has to work harder to regain his A-game.

Alcaraz secured a break at love at 6-5, sealing the deal and moving into the quarter-final.

Carlos faced the Italian Andrea Vavassori and scored a 7-6, 6-1 win in an hour and 40 minutes for a place in the last four. Alcaraz served at 80% and faced only one break point. He denied it and broke the rival's resistance in the second set with a double break.

Vavassori attacked and went for serve & volley combos, trying to keep the points on his racquet. Andre created a break chance in the fourth game, and Carlos erased it to avoid an early setback, holding with a volley winner for 2-2.

Vavassori denied a break point in the seventh game with a service winner and moved 6-5 up with two volley winners after deuce.

Carlos Alcaraz, Buenos Aires 2024© Marcelo Endelli / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Carlos introduced a tie break and moved 3-0 up with a mini-break and two drop shot winners.

The Spaniard clinched the breaker 7-1, gaining a boost and moving closer to the finish line. Carlos broke Andrea's resistance in the second set, delivering two breaks and setting the semi-final clash against Nicolas Jarry. The Chilean dethroned the Spaniard 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 55 minutes, earning his career-best victory.

Jarry denied three out of four break points and clinched two return games from four opportunities. They stayed neck and neck in the opening set, sending it into a tie break. Nicolas left Carlos far behind, earning four mini-breaks and closing the opener in style.

Alcaraz broke early in the second set but did not stay in front for too long. Jarry pulled the break back and delivered another, keeping the pressure on world no. 2 and moving into the final. Carlos will seek his first ATP title since July next week in Rio de Janeiro, falling in the final to Cameron Norrie a year ago and hoping for a better run this time.

Carlos Alcaraz, Buenos Aires 2024© Marcelo Endelli / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

"It's a tough loss; it hurts a lot. I played good tennis but must raise the bar and improve my game. I'm far from my best at the moment.

Buenos Aires was my first tournament on clay in a long time, and adapting was challenging. It's hard to find the rhythm against Nicolas. I had my chances but did not take them, and it will cost you dearly against a rival like him.

My level has not improved in comparison to 2023. My game is based on focus, a positive attitude and energy. I had many ups and downs this week, and you can not afford that if you want to chase the title," Carlos Alcaraz said.

Carlos Alcaraz