“It was a tough match. I had to give absolutely everything to beat you today,” Brit’s Cameron Norrie expressed to Carlos Alcaraz after getting the title from him at the Rio Open. But the one who was really feeling the pinch was the ‘Golden Guy’ young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.
He was trying to keep his crown, look great in his fans viewpoint and play impeccable tennis while winning the odds all in one tournament. It was back in August at the Cincinnati Masters that Alcaraz came up against Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinals there.
The Spanish teen had three big wins over Norrie before the Cincinnati meet. He was feeling confident on his ability to defuse the Brit’s game but things got blurry in that tournament and Norrie came out the winner in three hard-fought sets.
It was two tiebreaking sets which Alcaraz just couldn’t find his way to hit that one more winning ball. Cameron may prefer the hard court and proved his determination with the win in the Ohio event. The plot would thicken on his and the young Spaniard’s other meets.
Alcaraz was just coming off a three-month hiatus, of rehabbing his hamstring and abdominal injuries. He wanted to play his best but didn’t expect a showdown with Cameron Norrie again. Upon entering the Argentina Open, he overcame Serbia’s Laslo Dere and his 6 stinging aces to win in three sets.
Carlos won over another Serbian Lajovic in straight sets to land up in the final with Norrie. The racket battle was intense but Alcaraz came up with the goods winning an Argentina title in straight sets. “It’s been a great week for me…after a long time with no competition…showing the level I showed is amazing and really special.” Carlos is the youngest to ever win the Argentina Open and the Spaniard respected the history, h oping to continue his winning strategies.
“I felt very comfortable playing the final…I started really focused…this is the level that I have to play in finals,” Alcaraz had emphasized about his win at the Argentina Open. But as much as he tried keeping his promise in the Rio Open, a week later, meeting up with Cameron Norrie in the final was very unexpected.
Alcaraz grabbed that opening set at 7-5 but unforced errors and inconsistent shotmaking creeped into his game turning the second set over to Norrie. The Brit tightened his game, painting the lines, pulling Alcaraz all over the court and pushing him out of position and his comfort zone.
It was a must win for Carlos in the deciding set. I had to do it the tough way,” Norrie smilingly said when he made his ambitions a reality on defeating Carlos 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 to win the Rio Open. Alcaraz had won the first set and his struggles became real as his thoughts of defending his title, coming up with dynamic shots and outbeating the Brit that posed many compromises to his game.
Carlito appeared to slowly run out of gas, hitting unforced error after error. He appeared to look sluggish and at times a bit painful, due to the duration of the difficult match. Cameron Norrie had taken a spill onto the clay from trying to retrieve a spinning shot of Alcaraz’
But he proved his tank was much fuller than Carlito’s andhe endured some points to win the Rio Open from the exhaused Alcaraz. “I was on a surface I wasn’t too comfortable with so I had to play a few demons,” Norrie laughingly said.
There mught have been more demons on Alcaraz’s side for nowhe’s lost his defending title as well as his game having a lot of slip-ups to tighten and be ready for the Mexican Open. He’ll also have to rest from possible nagging prior ailments that may be plaguing him now, but hopefully not later.
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