Big Win in Rio for Cameron Norrie on the ATP Tour

The Telegraph Sport reports that Cameron Norrie landed the biggest title by a British player in almost 17 months, as he overcame a limping Carlos Alcaraz to win the ATP 500 event in Rio.

It was a display of rugged resilience from Norrie, who now leads the tour with 18 victories this season.

Pushed to the limit by Alcaraz, who persevered despite a thigh problem, Norrie eventually won 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.

Clinching victory with an ace after 2 hours and 41 minutes, he dropped to his knees in a heartfelt celebration.

”This one was sweet,” he explained afterwards. ”I’d already lost a couple of finals this year and I had to do it the tough way.”

The third set was particularly full of drama because Alcaraz compensated for his physical limitations by swinging furiously at every ball. Some of Alcaraz’s shotmaking was mind-boggling, especially when you consider that he was practically playing on one leg.

Cameron Norrie must have felt like he was in danger of being overwhelmed as balls flew past him with alarming regularity. But it was all or nothing from Alcaraz, who was lethal on attack but seriously compromised on defence.

Considering this is the same thigh that sidelined Alcaraz in January’s Australian Open, concerns arise about the wisdom of his decision to continue.

Norrie skillfully recovered from an awkward moment on Rio’s slippery clay in the second set, regaining balance after a heavy fall. He was trying to slide at the time, only for his foot to get stuck on one of the lines.

The incident triggered a slide of a different kind!

Cameron Norrie expressed frustration to chair umpire Carlos Bernardes about the court condition. He slipped to a set and 3-0 down, seemingly losing confidence in his movement.

But he pulled himself together just in time, forcing himself to stay positive and aggressive.

Norrie’s stoical temperament is one of his great assets, and in the end, it helped him to take advantage of Alcaraz’s unfortunate injury.

”I was a set and a breakdown and love-30 on my serve,” Norrie recalled afterward.

”I was looking done there, but I managed to just flick a switch and turn it around, so it was a good day. This is a surface that I’m not too comfortable with, so I had to battle a lot of demons in the last couple of weeks.”

These are encouraging times for men’s tennis in Britain, when you consider that Andy Murray also reached Saturday’s final in Doha before losing to Danil Medvedev.

In the last instance of two British men playing ATP finals on the same weekend, we must rewind to 1973. Roger Taylor and Mark Cox achieved this rare feat twice in the same summer.

Norrie currently holds a lofty No. 3 in the “Race to Turin,” the rankings table for this season’s tournaments.

He has become a phenomenally reliable performer, with 13 ATP finals to his name over the last 22 months.

The only man to have appeared in more finals in that time is world No1 Novak Djokovic, with 15. Norrie has now won five of those finals.

Though a seemingly moderate conversion rate, consider his opponents like Nadal, Berrettini, Ruud, and Medvedev.

Norrie’s impressive performance includes losing just one final, emotionally, to Gasquet in Auckland.

Rio was a more significant event than either of the ATP 250s that Cameron Norrie won last season (Lyon and Delray Beach).  It counts as his biggest title, or any British player, since he won the pandemic-rescheduled Indian Wells in October 2021.

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