Revenge for Norrie against Alcaraz at Rio Open
RIO DE JANEIRO. Cameron Norrie waited a week to get his revenge on top seed Carlos Alcaraz by coming from a set and losing 3-0 to beat the Spanish teenager in Sunday’s Rio Open final to claim his first title of the year.
Runner-up Norrie won 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 to claim the fifth title of his career after losing the final to Richard Gasquet in Auckland in January and Alcaraz in the Argentina Championship game last weekend.
Alcaraz’s failure to retain his clay-court title in Rio de Janeiro also prevented him from equaling Novak Djokovic on points at the top of the rankings. Djokovic would still be #1 due to different results.
Alcaraz and Norrie went head to head in the first set, which was eventually decided by Alcaraz’s drop shots that broke Norrie’s serve.
Alcaraz showed more confidence with his powerful forehands early in the second set to open 3-0 against Norrie. But the Briton came to his senses in the middle of the set, when Alcaraz felt pain in his right leg, which prevented him from moving and serving. The Spaniard later said that the problem was a recurrence of the injury that had ruled him out for nearly four months until early February.
“I did not see (Alcaraz was injured). I broke him to go 4-3 in the second set, then he called the coach. But he didn’t take a time-out at all due to an injury in the match,” Norrie said at a press conference when asked if he tried to exploit the Spaniard’s physical difficulties. “It’s especially when you do it against a top player like Alcaraz. It took a lot of heart.”
Norrie led most of the deciding set but had to work hard against a recovering Alcaraz. Norrie’s strong performance helped him take the win in 2 hours and 41 minutes, taking the title with an ace. The Briton dropped to his knees and roared to celebrate in front of the crowd, who were mostly supportive of Alcaraz.
“I had to wrestle really hard and run a lot,” Norrie said after winning his first ATP 500 title. “Winning a title on clay is a different feeling. It really needs to be earned, you need to run a lot. I lost a couple of finals this year, but to turn around here and win the biggest title of the year… I came to South America with the intention of improving on clay. My game might fit well.”
Alcaraz returned to the tour last week at the Argentine Open, where he lost just one set en route to his first title since his big slam breakthrough at the US Open last year. He said he was unsure if he would join Norrie for the hard court tournament in Acapulco next week due to a leg injury.
“I didn’t use my opportunities like in Buenos Aires. And I couldn’t finish the match at my best physical level,” Alcaraz said. “I have played every single one of the last 15 days non-stop. And in difficult matches like this, you can feel some pain. To avoid something worse, I bandaged my leg to protect it. But when you feel the trauma that you got a few months ago, it’s difficult.”
Revenge for Norrie vs. Alcaraz at the Rio Open originally appeared on NBCSports.com