Rio Open: Cameron Norrie wins fifth ATP title with thrilling victory over Carlos Alcaraz
British number one Cameron Norrie beat top seed Carlos Alcaraz in a thrilling Rio Open final to claim his fifth ATP singles title on Sunday.
The 27-year-old came from a set down to beat the Spaniard 4-6 6-4 7-5.
The victory comes just seven days after Norrie, ranked 13th in the world, lost to world number two Alcaraz in the final of the Argentina Open.
It is Norrie”s first title of 2023 and just his second on clay, having won the Lyon Open in 2022.
“It’s so special to win this one especially after losing a couple of finals already this year,” Norrie said post-match.
“I had to do it the tough way, I was a set and a break down and 0-30 on my serve.
“I managed to flick a switch and turn it around, so it was a good day.”
Norrie had the first chance to break with the scores at 2-2, taking the game to 40-30 before making three unforced errors and allowing Alcaraz to hold serve.
Having saved four break points, including a set point at 5-4, the Briton failed to force the opening set to a tie breaker as Alcaraz hammered home a backhand winner to claim the set 7-5.
After missing out on two break points in Alcaraz’s opening service game, Norrie fell to a 3-0 deficit in the second and he cut a frustrated figure as he complained to the umpire about the surface of the court after falling on his back.
The slip seemed to momentarily dent the second seed’s confidence as Alcaraz raced through his second service game unchallenged, but a four-game winning streak from Norrie changed the momentum as he got back on serve and broke again to take a 4-3 lead.
The 19-year-old Spaniard, after receiving physio treatment, broke back immediately, but Norrie returned the favour to serve for the set at 5-4 and he won it to love to force a decider.
The two players continued to break each other’s serve in a back-and-forth contest with Alcaraz, who appeared to struggle with a leg injury, taking a 2-0 lead in the final set before a double break from Norrie put him 3-2 up.
Despite breaking back straight away, Alcaraz was broken for a sixth time in the match as Norrie took a 6-5 lead to serve for the match.
Norrie held, claiming victory with an ace and falling to his knees in delight.
“I had to battle a lot of demons in the last couple of weeks but managed to play well in the big moments and that’s what it took today,” Norrie added.
Alcaraz, who was the defending champion in Rio having beat Diego Schwartzman in last year’s final, missed out on an eighth career title.
It was his second tournament of the year following a four-month injury lay-off which saw him miss the Australian Open.