British No 1 Cam Norrie secures the Rio Open title as he comes back to defeat Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 in dramatic encounter
- Cam Norrie won the Rio Open title as he defeated Carlos Alcaraz 5-7 6-4 7-5
- Alcaraz struggled with thigh problems in the last set and looked laboured
- Norrie held his nerve to close out the game and win his second biggest trophy
Cam Norrie ruined the carnival of Carlos Alcaraz when he came back on Sunday night to upset the Spanish teenage prodigy and dramatically win the Rio Open title.
Facing an opponent who had been treated for thigh problems, the British No 1 claimed the second biggest trophy of his career when he came through a remarkably undulating encounter 5-7 6-4 7-5.
For the last set of a match played on the Brazilian clay, lasting two hours and 40 minutes, Alcaraz was trying to hit a winner off almost everything as he struggled with thigh problems and laboured around the court.
The deluge of attempted winners and dropshots from the other end seemed to have scrambled Norrie’s head, but he held his nerve at the end to close it out and claim the ATP 500 event in what was his third final of the season. ‘I had lost a couple of finals this year but I turned it round on a surface that I’m not that comfortable with, I had to battle a few demons,’ he said.
The pair were facing off for the second Sunday in succession, seven days after Alcaraz had seen him off in the Argentina Open final.
British No 1 Cam Norrie celebrates after beating Carlos Alcaraz to win the Rio Open
Norrie lost the first set against Alcaraz but proceeded to secure a 5-7 6-4 7-5 victory
From the off this looked like it was going to be closer, and Norrie had plenty of chances before being broken at 5-5. An abrupt change of momentum saw the Spaniard take the next five games, with Norrie – double faulting too often – seemingly disoriented after taking a nasty fall when he slipped on a line, and complaining to the umpire about the quality of the playing surface.
Yet from 0-3 in the second there was another startling turnaround as Norrie came roaring back. Alcaraz was starting to appear tired and sore after two weeks’ play on the clay, and had the physio attend to his upper right leg as he surrendered the lead.
Norrie had to cope with his opponent’s aggressive strategy but managed to prevail
The teenager was looking to shorten the points and went into all-out attack mode as he tried to finish it in straight sets.
Norrie held him off to level the match, but then had to cope with his opponent’s aggressive strategy and fell behind early in the third. Norrie broke for 3-2 in the third, only for the New York winner to torture him with drop shots and wipe it out. The 27 year-old southpaw, his head ultimately unscrambling, edged ahead for 6-5 and then served it out.