Will Carlos Alcaraz and Cameron Norrie decide a second title in a row on the Latin American clay-court swing?
For a second straight week, World No. 2 Alcaraz and World No. 12 Norrie are set on a collision course as they lead the charge from opposite ends of the draw at the Rio Open – the season’s first ATP 500 event that is slated to run from Monday, Feb 20 to Sunday, Feb 26.
Alcaraz is making his 2023 debut in Latin America after missing the entire Australian Open swing due to injury, and this Sunday, in the Buenos Aires Open final, he defeated Norrie 6-3, 6-4 to lift his first title of the season. It’s safe to say that his bid in Argentina couldn’t have gone better had he scripted it himself.
This week Alcaraz will return to the Jockey Club Brasileiro, where as the then-World No. 29, he clinched his maiden ATP 500 crown and first of five titles in 2022.
In hindsight, Brazil was the springboard for Alcaraz’s banner run because seven months later, the teenage phenom won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open and became the youngest World No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings history.
Alcaraz is seeded No. 1 as he begins his Rio Open title defense campaign and is the top favorite in the betting online markets to win the coveted crown. He will face stiff opposition from top-seeded threats such as No. 2 seed Norrie, No. 3 Lorenzo Musetti, No. 4 Francisco Cerundolo and No. 5 seed Diego Schwartzman, to name a few. As well, as a field that is stacked with clay-court aficionados.
Join us as we analyze the Rio Open draw alongside the tennis odds and serve up some early tennis betting predictions for the title race.
ATP Rio Open Outrights
- Carlos Alcaraz -138
- Cameron Norrie +850
- Sebastian Baez +900
- Lorenzo Musetti +1200
- Francisco Cerundolo +1600
- Domic Thiem +1600
- Albert Vinolas-Ramos +2500
- Hugo Dellien +2500
- Laslo Djere +2800
- Dusan Lajovic +3300
- Thomas Martin Etchevery +3300
- Bernabe Zapata Miralles +4000
- Juan Pablo Varilas +4000
- Diego Schwartzman +4000
- Alex Molcan +4000
- Juame Munar +5000
- Pedro Martinex +5000
- Cristian Garin +5000
- Pedro Cachin +5000
- Fabio Fognini +6600
- Roberto Carballes Baena +6600
- Thiago Monteiro +10000
- Daniel Elahi Galan +10000
- Joao Sousa +12500
- Joao Fonseca +25000
- Thomaz Bellucci +25000
- Mateus D C C Alves +25000
Alcaraz Headlines Top Half of the Draw
Alcaraz is slated to open his campaign against Brazilian wild-card Mateus Alves in the R32. If Alcaraz overcomes the home favorite, he will face the winner of Fabio Fognini and qualifier Thomas Barrios Vera.
Fognini is a wily veteran, making him the trickiest of Alcaraz’s potential early threats. The Italian won the doubles title in Buenos Aires with his partner Simone Bolelli on Sunday, thus, sending him into Rio on good form and momentum.
Should Alcaraz reach the final eight, he could face several top contenders in the quarterfinals, such as former champions Laslo Djere (2019) or Diego Schwartzman (2018). Alternatively, he could face veteran Dusan Lajovic or qualifier Facundo Bagnis.
Third seed Lorenzo Mussetti and sixth seed Sebastian Baez straddle the second quarter of the draw. If the draw falls in line with the seeding, then one of them could emerge to challenge Alcaraz in the semis – that is assuming the Spanish teenager wins his section.
Other potential semifinalists that could emerge out of the second quarter include Chile’s Cristian Garin, Brazilian veteran Thomaz Bellucci and Peruvian Juan Pablo Varrillas.
1st final since US Open for Alcaraz 🙌
Carlitos to face Norrie for the title in Buenos Aires
(🎥 @TennisTV) pic.twitter.com/XnpKFVEuOn
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) February 19, 2023
Norrie Headlines Bottom Half of the Draw
No. 4 Francisco Cerundolo and No. 7 Albert Ramos-Vinolas headline a third quarter that is stacked with bona fide clay courters from Pedro Cachin, Daniel Elahi Galan, Bernabe Zapata Miralles and Roberto Carballes Baena.
Anyone of these players could reach the semifinals to challenge No. 2 seed Norrie – or any other player that wins the fourth quarter, for that matter – for a spot in the finale.
Britain’s No. 1 arrives in Rio brimming with confidence after reaching the final of Buenos Aires. Although he lost the title to Alcaraz, to his credit he accounted very well and bested some diehard clay courters to reach his second final of the season.
The Brit opens his bid against lucky loser Juan Manuel Cerundolo In the second round, Norrie could come up against former Rio champion and 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem or Thiago Monteiro.
Thiem was a formidable clay courter at the height of his career, but he has lost his edge since suffering a wrist injury two years ago. He is still looking to find the form that took him to one of the game’s biggest prizes.
In the quarterfinals, Norrie could come up against any number of stumbling blocks such as
Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, Portugal’s Joao Sousa, Brazilian wild card Joao Fonseca or dangerous floater Alex Molcan of Slovakia. The Slovak is a natural clay courter, a tough competitor in general, and a player with some notable wins under his belt over his career.