Cameron Norrie in the third round of the 2022 US Open, New York
Cameron Norrie in the third round of the 2022 US Open, New York | (Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

Tennis | ATP Rio De Janeiro 2023 | Norrie survives Zapata Miralles scare to set Alcaraz rematch

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Cameron Norrie [2] def Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2 3-6 7-6(3)
  • Norrie v Carlos Alcaraz [1] | H2H: Alcaraz leads 4-1
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cameron Norrie survived a big scare against Bernabe Zapata Miralles to reach the final in Rio De Janeiro where he will face Carlos Alcaraz for the second consecutive week.


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Cameron Norrie [2] def Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2 3-6 7-6(3)

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Cameron Norrie is into his second consecutive ATP final after defeating Bernabe Zapata Miralles in a third set tiebreak. Norrie made the perfect start to the match as he defended the Spaniard’s aggressive shot-making with ease, breaking in the third game for a 2-1 lead.

After producing inconsistent performances in his recent matches, Norrie made a more clinical start to the match as he produced some stunning angles with the backhand to secure the double break lead at 4-1. There was no resistance on return from Zapata Miralles in the opening set however the Spaniard did show fight on serve as he saved four set points in the seventh game to secure only his second game of the set. However another error from the Spaniard saw Norrie seal the opening set in a comfortable 40 minutes.

In the second set, Norrie’s inconsistency was there to see as he produced some erratic errors to hand the break to Zapata Miralles in the second game, giving the Spaniard a 2-0 lead. There was more variation in height from the Spaniard as he used the kick serve effectively to gain some control in the second set.

Norrie’s serve wasn’t as efficient in the second set which allowed Zapata Miralles to be more aggressive as he pushed for the double break in the sixth game. The Brit denied the Spaniard the double break advantage but nevertheless Zapata Miralles sealed the second set with an ace as he passionately celebrated levelling the match at one set all.

The final set saw both players fight for control of the set with both players serving more consistently and showing more variety. Zapata Miralles used the drop shot rather successfully on the big points but the Spaniard couldn’t deny Norrie for long as the second seed earned his reward for patience on return as he broke for a 4-2 lead.

However the lead didn’t last long as a stunning backhand down the line from Zapata Miralles gave him the break back in the next game. The Spaniard showed tremendous resilience on serve, denying Norrie’s aggressive returning at every opportunity with the world number 63 even creating break point in the eleventh game.

In the end it was Norrie who played the higher quality tennis in the bigger moments as he dominated the tiebreak with victory being sealed on a Zapata Miralles double fault. It means Norrie will play his second consecutive ATP final and his third of the season.


Cameron Norrie [2] v Carlos Alcaraz [1]   H2H & Match Fundamentals

Cameron Norrie [2] v Carlos Alcaraz [1] H2H: Alcaraz leads 4-1
ATP Rio De Janeiro Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Clay (O) Prize Money: $376,620/$202,640
First on Quadra Guga Kuerten (20:30 GMT) Amazon Prime Video <– Sign up for trial

Norrie will now face top seed Carlos Alcaraz for the second consecutive week in an ATP final after the Spaniard claimed the title in Buenos Aires last week.


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2023)

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H2H: Cameron Norrie (WR 13) Carlos Alcaraz (WR 2)
Tournament Previous Best R2 (2019) Winner (2022)
1st Serve % 64.7 66.5
Service Games Won % 81.3 82.4
Break Points Saved % 61.5 57.9
2nd Serve Return Points Won % 54.2 55.5
Break Points Converted % 38.1 53.4

Norrie will need to serve more consistently in this match as he is facing the efficient returning of Alcaraz.



Playing Styles and Prediction

After missing the Australian Open at the start of the year, Alcaraz has responded in impressive fashion as he has won all eight matches that he has played this year. Now the Spaniard will look to defend his title in Brazil and build momentum ahead of the first Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells next month.

Norrie will need to serve consistently well throughout the entire match and vary up the tactics as much as possible to keep Alcaraz guessing. The Spaniard will use his baseline power as well as his all-court athleticism to counter-attack Norrie’s power. This will be a tough test for the Brit but if he can sustain a high level throughout the match then this match should go to a deciding set at least. Ultimately Alcaraz’s physical and tactical stamina should have too much for Norrie in what should be a competitive encounter.

Prediction: Alcaraz in three sets.



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