Rio de Janeiro (EFE) 5-7, 6-4 and 7-5 in a game that had to come back.
In a match of two hours and 41 minutes that was very even in the first set, the Briton was far superior in the second, when Alcaraz’s team entered the track to bandage his right leg, and even more so in the third.
The Briton, number 13 in the ATP ranking, prevented the world number two from defending the title he won in 2022 in this Brazilian city.
That he was successful in his first defense of an ATP title and that he became the first tennis player to win twice in Brazil and the first to win the ATP 250 in Buenos Aires and the ATP 500 in Rio in the same year.
He also snatched the 19-year-old from Murcia, the current US Open champion, to add the 500 points he needed to equal the Serbian Novak Djokovic for first place in the world ranking.
The path of Norrie and Alcaraz in Rio
Norrie finally got a win at an ATP tournament this year after being a finalist and losing at Auckland and Buenos Aires.
The left-handed tennis player born in South Africa 27 years ago also managed to end the series of defeats in the ATP 500 finals, since he was defeated in Queens 2021 and Acapulco 2022.
In addition, the British owner of four titles and who has played 14 finals remained the tennis player with the highest number of victories this season, with 18 wins.
This was the fifth duel between Alcaraz and Norrie in the ATP and the second victory for the British.
Alcaraz reached the final after having eliminated Chilean Nicolás Jarry 6-7 (2), 7-5 and 6-0 in a tough duel in the semifinals, but Norrie also had a difficult confrontation of almost three hours to defeat Spanish Bernabé Zapata 6-2, 3-6 and 7-6 (3), so both arrived visibly tired this Sunday.
The final of the Rio de Janeiro Open
The first set was completely even, with both players confirming their respective serves and Alcaraz alternating between the net and the bottom and saving the most difficult balls, until the twelfth game, when, with 52 minutes and a 6-5 run, the Spaniard he finally broke Norrie’s serve and prevailed in the set 7-5 in 58 minutes.
The Murcian unbalanced with the only direct of the sleeve and thanks to two double faults from the British, who had to save four break points to maintain the apparent equality.
Although he had difficulties confirming his first serve in the second set, Alcaraz managed to break his rival’s first serve, who fell to the court after a slip without major consequences, to open a 3-0 lead in 19 minutes.
But the Briton showed that he was not surrendered and, with two breaks, he won four games in a row and left the partial at 4-3 in his favor.
Then he managed his advantage against an Alcaraz who had to have his right leg bandaged due to discomfort, to win the set 6-4 in 50 minutes.
Cameron Norrie prevails in Rio
In the third set, the Spaniard was upset because things were not going his way, especially after Norrie broke two serves in a row and opened a 3-2 lead. But the Murcian managed to recover, return the break and leave the partial even at 4-4.
In a delayed ninth game Alcaraz had to save three break points to confirm his serve and open 5-4. But the Briton not only confirmed his serve but also broke the number two serve again and opened a 6-5 lead. In the last game he only had to confirm his serve to win the set 7-5 and the final 2-1.
The ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro, which was played on the clay courts of the Brazilian Jockey Club and distributed prizes of 2.2 million dollars, is part of the tour on clay in South America, which began with the Córdoba Open and concludes next week with the ATP 250 in Santiago (Chile).