Buenos Aires | Etcheverry leads the Argentine challenge

The second week of the three tournament South American swing – known as the ‘Golden Swing’ – got under way in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, and, not surprisingly, the draw of the ATP 250 level event, the IEB+ Argentina Open, is dominated by home grown players.

Some players like it, others feel the pressure (of home support). I love having all that extra energy pushing you. Tomas Martin Etcheverry

The field at the prestigious Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, dubbed the Cathedral of Argentine tennis, sees the world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz topping the draw as the defending champion, and is favourite to retain the title.

Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who has had success in South America in previous years, is seeded two to meet the Spaniard in the final.

With the opening round completed the pair following first round byes, are scheduled to play on Wednesday.

Amongst the home favourites, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, seeded six, came through the evening match played in windy conditions, by dispatching Spain’s Roberto Caballes Baena 6-4 6-1.

“Every tournament is different and you have to adapt,” Etcheverry said after the match. “In Australia I was able to adapt well and got to beat (Andy) Murray, (Gael) Monfils and even play Novak Djokivic. Facing players of that level is very special and it helps you improve.”

Etcheverry, who enjoyed the support of Argentine ex-pats in Australia, added. “You can tell there are Argentines everywhere, I felt like a home favorite in Australia. Some players like it, others feel the pressure. I love having all that extra energy pushing you. There are many tournaments where you get lots of Argentines in the crowd and you have to appreciate them.”

Following weather delays, the day’s schedule started with Argentina’s Díaz Acosta battling over two hours and 5-minutes to defeat Germany’s Daniel Altmaier 6-3 7-6(1).

Acosta now faces his countryman, the fourth seeded Francisco Cerúndolo, the Argentine No.1. “It’s going to be a different game because we know each other very well,” Acosta said. “He’ll have a bit more on his shoulders, but it’s going to be a tough match anyway.”

2014 US Open-winner Cilic completed the day’s programme against Laslo Djere. The Croatian, currently ranked 1044 but a former world No.3, was coming off an injury which sidelined him for a year. His lack of match play was evident as he crashed out after just under two hours, 4-6 6-3 6-0.

Three-time Grand Slam winner, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka opened the night’s play and recovered to defeat Argentine Pedro Cachín 6-7(7) 6-1 6-2 after two hours and 24 minutes.

“It’s great to be back in Argentina,” Wawrinka a former finalist in Buenos Aires, said after the match. “I wanted to come back here before retiring, I missed this crowd. I want to thank the fans and I hope to see them in my next match.”



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