What Carlos Alcaraz’s latest shock defeat means for his battle with Novak Djokovic in ATP Rankings

Shahida Jacobs
Carlos Alcaraz during a match
Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, wipes his face

Carlos Alcaraz’s surprise exit from the Argentina Open means his hopes of replacing Novak Djokovic at No 1 in the ATP Rankings before the Sunshine Double are hanging by a very thin thread.

Defending champion Alcaraz was stunned by Nicolas Jarry in the semi-final of the ATP 250 event on Saturday as the Chilean claimed a stunning 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 victory over the world No 2.

The exit means the Spaniard hasn’t lifted a trophy since winning Wimbledon in July last year while he has also reached only one final since the grass-court Grand Slam with that final coming in August last year at the Cincinnati Open.

The 20-year-old has also made no secret of the fact that he wants to return to No 1 in the ATP Rankings, but his task is near impossible before the Indian Wells Open.

Djokovic has topped the rankings since last year’s US Open and the 24-time Grand Slam winner is next expected to play at the ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells event at the beginning of March.

Alcaraz’s semi-final defeat means Djokovic will open a 750-point lead in the rankings on Monday while the battle behind them for third place between Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner has also intensified.

Live ATP Rankings

Novak Djokovic 9,855 points
Carlos Alcaraz 9,105
Daniil Medvedev 8,265
Jannik Sinner 8,100

The problem for Alcaraz is he has another 300 points to defend at next week’s Rio Open meaning the gap will essentially widen to 1,050, but the good news is a title run in Brazil will reduce the deficit to 550 points.

The Mexican Open, which starts on February 26, is not on Alcaraz’s schedule but he could take a wildcard to play in the ATP 500 event. However, he would need another title run which would see the gap become just 50 points.

Djokovic, meanwhile, will drop 180 points at the beginning of March for his semi-final run at last year’s Dubai Tennis Championships and that would enable Alcaraz to pip him.

Essentially Alcaraz would need to win back-to-back ATP 500 events in Rio and Alcapulco – a tournament that is currently not on his schedule – in order to get past Djokovic before the Indian Wells Open.

Australian Open champion Sinner, meanwhile, has an opportunity to close the gap to Alcaraz as he could move past Medvedev if he wins the Rotterdam Open on Sunday.

The Italian, though, isn’t scheduled to compete again until Indian Wells, although he could still opt to accept a late wildcard entry into the Dubai Tennis Championships.

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