RIO DE JANEIRO:
Englishman Cameron Norrie used the disease Carlos Alcaraz to win the ATP Tour Rio Open on Sunday.
Second-seeded Norrie came from behind to win the fifth round of his career, winning 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 in 2 hours 40 minutes.
Norrie’s victory came exactly seven days after the British number 13 lost to Spain’s second-ranked Alcaraz in the final of the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires.
“It’s special to win this game, especially after losing two at the end of this year,” said Norrie, who also lost in the final in Auckland in January.
But cloud Norrie celebrated, Alcaraz was left with fresh fitness concerns after a tough game that saw him need regular visits from the physio.
The 19-year-old, who only returned to tennis at last week’s tournament in Argentina after a four-month layoff, was clearly struggling with foot pain in the last time is the end of Sunday.
He needed a heavy bandage on his right thigh in the middle of the second set, when he fell from 3-0 down to allow Norrie to take the set and level the match.
Alcaraz is scheduled to play the Mexican Open in Acapulco next week and then the Indian Wells Masters in California in early March.
The world number one looked to be in control after taking the first set with a forehand down the line to break Norrie for the first time in the match.
He then raced to 3-0 with another quick break of serve in the second set and seemed to be building unstoppable momentum.
However, Alcaraz soon struggled with a sore thigh and Norrie broke twice to take it 4-3.
Although Alcaraz fought back to break and level at 4-4, the Spaniard broke his next service game and Norrie held out for a set.
While it was clear that Alcaraz wasn’t hitting all shots in the third set, the Spaniard still managed to find moments of free inspiration with 19 wins in the first.
But Norrie gave him the chance to win his first tournament of 2023 after breaking Alcaraz six times in the match for 6-5.
Norrie then held, and got the win with an ace.
“I had to do it the hard way – a set down and a break and 0-30 on my serve,” Norrie said later.
“I saw it was over there, but I was able to flip a switch and turn it around to make it a good day.
“I had to fight a lot of demons, but I was able to play well in big moments and that’s what happened today.”
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