World no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz failed to win his second consecutive ATP title in Rio on Sunday. The defending champion fell 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 to Cameron Norrie, missing a chance to lift his eighth ATP title. The young Spaniard led 7-5, 3-0, 30-0 but failed to bring the victory home from there, missing his chances and struggling with a right leg injury for the rest of the duel.
Cameron stayed calm and prevailed after two hours and 41 minutes for his first title of the season and already the 18th ATP win in 2023. Carlos went for all-or-nothing shots to reduce his movement and endure the efforts with a troubled right leg.
Alcaraz fired 40 winners and 52 unforced errors, while Norrie tamed his strokes more efficiently to emerge at the top. The Briton defended four out of nine break points and stole the rival’s serve six times from 16 opportunities.
Both players settled into a fine rhythm behind the initial shot at the start of the duel, reaching 2-2. Norrie missed a break point in game five with a loose forehand and faced troubles at 3-4. A left-hander denied three break points with valiant hitting and brought the game home for 4-4.
Alcaraz earned a set point at 5-4 with a touchy drop shot, and Norrie denied it with a forehand attack. Carlos pushed strong on the return for the third straight game at 6-5 and earned a set point with a drop shot winner. The young Spaniard painted a backhand down the line return winner to clinch the opener 7-5 in just under an hour and gain a boost.
Carlos saved break points at the start of the second set, broke for the second time in a row in game two and held at love for 3-0. Cameron trailed 30-0 in the fourth game and faced another break and the exit door. The Briton stayed calm and brought the game home before breaking back in game five after the rival’s forehand error.
Struggling with an injury, Alcaraz opted for a serve & volley in game seven and got broken for the second time in a row to fall 4-3 behind. The Spaniard kept fighting and pulled the break back in game eight after the Briton’s wayward forehand.
Carlos Alcaraz experienced a tight loss to Cameron Norrie in Rio.
Cameron stayed calm and delivered his third break in a row in game nine to open a 5-4 gap and serve for the set. He held at love with an ace down the T line in game ten to wrap it up and force a decider.
Carlos made another push at the start of the decider and broke in game two for a 2-0 advantage. However, he netted a forehand in the next one to keep the opponent on the positive side. Norrie broke again in game five before losing his serve in the next one to keep the young gun at 3-3.
Barely moving, Carlos denied two break points in game nine and brought the game home for a massive hold and a 5-4 advantage. He came back from 40-0 down in game 11 before Norrie seized the fourth break point after Alcaraz’s terrible backhand.
The Briton served for the victory at 6-5 and fired an ace on his second match point to celebrate the title and dethrone world no. 2. “It was a tough final. I had chances to win the title, taking the opening set and leading 3-0, 30-0 in the second.
I failed to score the second break of serve, and it was challenging to make a comeback against such a strong rival in the decider. I was not at my best physically, but we still played a good final, giving our everything. Despite the injury, I was happy with my performance this week. However, I needed more to beat a player like Cameron, which is never easy,” Carlos Alcaraz said.
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