Norrie Reaches Third Final Of 2023 In Rio
One week after a narrow defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in the Buenos Aires final, Cameron Norrie did his part to earn a rematch in the Rio Open presented by Claro title match.
Watch the Rio de Janeiro final Sunday from 9.30pm CET/3.30pm ET
The Briton edged Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(3) on Saturday in Brazil to reach his third final of the season and improve to 17-3 on the year. Norrie, who also reached the Auckland final last month, leads the ATP Tour in wins in 2023.
A pair of one-sided sets gave way to a thrilling decider on Court Guga Kuerten. Norrie won five games in a row to win the opener without facing a break point before Zapata Miralles levelled behind a 3-0 start in set two, denying Norrie a break chance in the set.
"It was good from him and I was a little bit impatient," Norrie said of the turnaround after a strong opening set. "I tried to finish the points a little bit too early. I was a bit overconfident. But credit to him, he came back strong."
Following a trade of breaks midway through the third, Norrie fended off a break point at 5-5 with a brave approach and a deft drop volley placed just out of the reach of the sliding Spaniard. Norrie opened the tie-break with a clever forehand drop shot from the frontcourt and never trailed, winning the final three points to seal his final place.
After the two-and-a-half-hour win in what was his eighth match in the past 11 days, Norrie was pleased with his ability to grind out another gruelling win.
"That's all it was today was physical in that third set," he said. "I just found a way, it was really tough. He fought hard. I'm serving much better, hitting my spots much better.
"I'm going to have to finish the points [in the final] and execute and execute well otherwise I'm going to have no chance."
Norrie will meet top seed Alcaraz in Sunday's in the final. The Spaniard improved his perfect 2023 record to 8-0 with a 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-0 comeback against Chilean qualifier Nicolas Jarry in the day's second semi-final.
Zapata Miralles, who reached his first two ATP Tour semi-finals in consecutive weeks (l. to Alcaraz in Buenos Aires), has guaranteed himself a Top 50 debut. The 26-year-old is up 21 places to No. 42 this week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.