Top seeds Carlos Alcaraz and Cameron Norrie handed rocky roads to redemption in Rio draw

Carlos Alcaraz Australian Open
Carlos Alcaraz reacts at the Australian Open

There are no first round byes for the 32-man main draw Rio Open which means that top seeds and last season’s finalists Carlos Alcaraz and Cameron Norrie will need to get straight into the action.

Alcaraz heads the draw as the top seed and will face local wildcard Thiago Monteiro in what could be a tricky opening assignment.

Alcaraz, Norrie, Chile’s Nicolas Jarry, Argentine stars Francisco Cerundolo and Sebastian Baez, young French star Arthur Fils and veteran champion Stan Wawrinka are the headline players in action in Rio in the coming week.

Norrie, Alcaraz and sixth-seeded Laslo Djere are the three players in the field who have previously won the Rio title. Interestingly this tournament has never been won by the same man twice.

Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Pablo Cuevas, Dominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzman, Djere, Cristian Garin, Alcaraz and Norrie are the previous winners of the Rio title.

Norrie, who has endured a difficult start to the season, faces a tricky opening assignment as well as he was drawn to face Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien.

If Norrie is to reach the last eight he will need to conquer South American opposition twice.

After his start against Dellien, Norrie will either be out of the tournament or set to face one of either Brazilian wildcard Gustavo Heide or Chile’s Tomas Barrios Vera.

“Always good memories, I’m just enjoying being in South America in general, getting some rhythm on the clay. I’m excited to get going,” Norrie said.

The other seeded player in Norrie’s quarter is Austrian Sebastian Ofner who is the No 8 seed and starts his tournament against Spain’s Jaume Munar.

Should Alcaraz get through the first round he will face either Argentina’s Pedro Cachin or a qualifier.

Argentina Open finalist Facundo Diaz Acosta has been thrown a nightmare draw as he will take on Stan Wawrinka to start.

Acosta’s countryman and fifth seed Sebastian Baez might lie in wait in the round of 16.

Baez is seeded to meet Alcaraz in the last eight and starts his Rio campaign against a qualifier.

Cerundolo is the fourth seed and also starts against a yet-to-be-determined qualifier to begin his Rio tilt.

Former Rio champion Djere holds sixth seeding but has one of the toughest draws as he faces Spain’s Bernabe Zapate Miralles in the first round and then might clash with compatriot Dusan Lajovic in the last 16.

Lajovic faces Daniel Galan to begin his Rio title push before that possible meeting with his countryman.

Meanwhile seventh seeded Frenchman Arthur Fils will have a Brazilian wildcard in Joao Fonseca to deal with first up.

Jarry reached the final in Buenos Aires but will need to hurry over to Rio for his opening match against Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann.

Jarry and Fils are on a last eight collision course in the third quarter.

Check out the full draw here.

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