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Alcaraz and Norrie advance to Rio Open final, eye rematch

Mutua Madrid Open

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 6: Mutua Madrid Open Carlos Alcaraz during the Mutua Madrid Open on May 6, 2022 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

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RIO DE JANEIRO - Top seeds Carlos Alcaraz and Cameron Norrie won semifinal matches to set up their second straight final at the Rio Open.

If the Spaniard wins he will not only defend his title in Brazil, but also tie Novak Djokovic in points on the top of the ranking - the Serbian would still be No.1 due to other results.

Alcaraz worked hard to beat Nicolas Jarry 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-0 on Saturday. Hours earlier, Cameron Norrie topped Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3).

The top-seeded players in the clay court tournament also clashed last weekend in the final of the Argentina Open, which the Alcaraz won in straight sets.

Alcaraz dropped only his second set in the Rio Open tournament against Jarry.

The 19-year-old Spaniard was in trouble with the Chilean’s effective service in the first two sets, but showed he had more energy in the third.

Alcaraz blanked Jarry in the final set with a dominant performance.

“Nico has great power, an incredible service and he has shots to make any player’s life difficult,” Alcaraz said of Jarry after the match, where until the end of the second set his Chilean opponent had won almost 90% of the points after his first service.

“I am not going to do anything different (from the Buenos Aires final against Norrie). I think he will, and I will debate that with my team tomorrow.”

Norrie will play his third final of the year. He needed 2 1/2 hours to beat Zapata Miralles. In the deciding set, Norrie saved a break point in the fifth game, broke the Spaniard in the sixth but was forced to a tiebreak. His stronger first service made the difference.

“I tried to finish the points a little bit too early. I was a bit overconfident,” Norrie said.

Asked what he needs to do differently from the finals in Buenos Aires and Auckland, which he lost to Alcaraz and Richard Gasquet, Norrie said: “I have to play better in the big moments.”

Norrie currently leads the tour in wins in 2023, with 17 victories and three losses.