Rublev wins opening match of Dubai title defense Revenge for Norrie against Alcaraz at Rio Open Alcaraz and Norrie advance to Rio Open final, eye rematch

Andrey Rublev began his defense of the Dubai title by ruining Filip Krajinovic’s birthday with a 7-5, 6-2 win on Monday.

Krajinovic, who is 31 years old, took the lead with a score of 5:2. Then runner-up Rublev played 11 of the next 13 games.

Rublev will then face Alejandro Davidovich Fokin, who beat Malek Jaziri in straight sets in the Tunisian’s last professional match.

Also, Alexander Zverev beat Jiri Lehecka with a score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Leheka won his first match in January in Sydney and beat Rublev in Doha last week before losing five match points against Andy Murray.

Zverev is still waiting to win back-to-back matches this year following his return from an ankle injury.

“Such matches are extremely important for me now,” Zverev said. “I found a way to win.”

Murray, the 2017 winner in Dubai, withdrew from the tournament citing a sore hip after he struggled to reach the final in Doha on Saturday. He lost to Daniil Medvedev, who is third in Dubai.

On Tuesday, top seed Novak Djokovic will play his first match since winning the Australian Open against Czech Republic Tomas Machak.

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.”

RIO DE JANEIRO. Carlos Alcaraz and Cameron Norrie won the semi-finals on Saturday and reached the final for the second consecutive time at the Rio Open.

If the Spaniard wins, he will not only defend his title in Brazil, but will also equal Novak Djokovic on points at the top of the rankings – the Serb will still be No. 1 due to other results.

Alcaraz worked hard to beat Nicolas Jarry 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-0 on Saturday. A few hours earlier, Cameron Norrie had beaten Bernabé Zapata Miralles 6–2, 3–6, 7–6 (3).

The tournament’s top clay court players also clashed last weekend in the final of the Argentine Open, which Alcaraz won in straight sets.

Alcaraz only lost his second set in the Rio Open against Jarry.

The 19-year-old Spaniard had trouble hitting the Chilean in the first two sets, but showed more energy in the third.

Alcaraz defeated Jarry in a dominant game final set.

“Nico has tremendous power, an incredible serve, and he has shots that can make life difficult for any player,” Alcaraz said of Jarri after the match, where his Chilean opponent scored almost 90% of the points after his first service until the end of the second set.

“I’m not going to do anything else (starting with the final in Buenos Aires against Norrie). I think so, and tomorrow I will discuss it with my team.”

Norrie will play his third final of the year. It took him 2.5 hours to defeat Zapata Miralles. In the deciding set, Norrie saved a break point in the fifth game, defeated the Spaniard in the sixth, but was forced to play in a tie-break. His stronger first pitch made the difference.

“I tried to score points too early. I was a little self-confident,” Norrie said.

Asked what he needs to do differently than in the finals in Buenos Aires and Auckland, in which he lost to Alcaraz and Richard Gasque, Norrie replied: “I have to play better in important moments.”

Norrie currently leads the tour in wins in 2023 with 17 wins and three losses.


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