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Alcaraz and Norrie into Rio semis, eye 2nd final in 2 weeks

ATP 250 Argentina Open 2023 - Round of Sixteen

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 15: Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates after winning a point in the round of sixteen singles match against Laslo Djere of Serbia during day three of the ATP 250 Argentina Open 2023 at Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on February 15, 2023 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

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RIO DE JANEIRO - A rematch is in sight for Carlos Alcaraz and Cameron Norrie in the Rio Open final.

Both advanced to the semifinals of the clay-court tournament and could repeat last weekend’s Argentina Open decider, which the Spaniard won.

Defending Rio Open champion Alcaraz beat Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6 (0). He will take on Nicolas Jarry, who topped Sebastian Baez 6-3, 7-6 (3).

The Chilean was suspended for doping for 11 months in 2020 and is trying climb back in the rankings since February of last year. His best ranking was No. 38, but today he is now No. 139.

Once again, the 19-year-old Alcaraz did not play his best tennis in Brazil, as in his first two matches, but still prevailed. Unforced errors, difficulties with the first service and less energy than the usual were evident throughout the Spaniard’s match against Lajovic.

Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open for his first major, is playing his second tournament since a right leg injury that sidelined him for four months.

Alcaraz and Jarry have never played each other in a tour match.

“I feel I am at a great level physically, I am playing tough, demanding matches day after day,” Alcaraz said. “Last year I was at a great level, winning here, Miami, other tournaments. I can still improve what I am doing now, obviously.”

Second-seeded Norrie overcame Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. The British player will next take on Bernabe Zapata Miralles, who beat Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

“I had a very slow start, I didn’t make a lot of returns, which is pretty unlike me,” Norrie said. “I was fortunate to stay patient.”