Rio De Janeiro, Feb 27 (IANS) Cameron Norrie secured his fifth ATP title as he recovered from a slow start to defeat top seed Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 6-4. 7-5 in the Rio Open final.
The British second seed looked shaky on serve early and committed five double faults on the outdoor clay of the Jockey Club Brasileiro, reports Xinhua news agency.
But the 27-year-old held his nerve at key moments, capitalizing on a string of unforced errors from the Spanish world No. 2 to eventually prevail in two hours and 41 minutes.
“It’s so special to win this one, especially because I’d lost a couple of finals already this year and I had to do it the tough way,” said Norrie, whose last title came at the Lyon Open last May.
“A set and a breakdown and 0-30 on my serve, I was looking done there and I managed to flick a switch and turn it around, so it was a good day.”
Alcaraz, who beat Norrie in the Argentina Open final last weekend, looked troubled by an unspecified injury.
“I did not seize my opportunities like I did in Buenos Aires,” said the reigning US Open champion, whose appearance in Argentina followed a three-month layoff because of an abdominal injury.
“I couldn’t finish the match at my best physical level. I’ve played each of the latest 15 days without stopping. And in tough matches like this one, you can feel some pain. To avoid something worse I wrapped my leg to protect it. But when you feel an injury you had a few months before, it is complicated.”
Part of the ATP 500 circuit, the Rio Open this year carried prize money of more than two million US dollars.