Cameron Norrie displays clay credentials to book championship match against Carlos Alcaraz
Second seed Cameron Norrie will be chasing his second title on clay when he meets Carlos Alcaraz in the Argentina Open final.
Norrie and Alcaraz were the highest-ranked players in the field but a final between the two was anything but a foregone conclusion.
Alcaraz is returning from a long time out of the game and Norrie has a mixed record on clay although he did win the Lyon title ahead of last season’s French Open.
Norrie advanced to the final with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory against Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas in the last four in Buenos Aires.
The Brit played in the first of the semi-finals and didn’t know he would be facing Alcaraz after wrapping up his match.
However, he was braced for a stiff challenge from the 2022 year-end No 1.
Norrie will be playing in his second final of the season having suffered a heartbreaking championship match loss in Auckland.
“It’s going to be a tough one for sure regardless of who I play,” Norrie said after his semi-final win. “I lost a tough final in Auckland, so hopefully I can get some good feelings back tomorrow in the final.”
Alcaraz made quick work of countryman Bernabe Zapata Miralles putting him away 6-2, 6-2 in just 77 minutes.
The Spaniard is relieved to have hit his straps having been concerned that he had given up too much to his ATP Tour rivals.
“It’s a really special moment for me,” Alcaraz said. “I was a little bit down after the injury, so I had to recover in those four months the confidence and the rhythm. Coming back for my first tournament of 2023 and making the final is so special for me.”
While Alcaraz leads the head to head series against Norrie 3-1 but the Briton’s only win came in their last meeting.
“I played a couple of times against him. [He is] a really, really tough player,” Alcaraz said. “I know that I have to give everything I have in the final. I’m going to say it’s going to be a really tough final, but at the same time a beautiful one.”
On the Argentine clay, Alcaraz has been regaining ground and sounding and early warning for the upcoming Spring clay swing in Europe.
Alcaraz, a champion in Rio de Janeiro in 2022, will attempt to add another South American crown to his already impressive trophy collection on Sunday but Norrie will pose a fierce challenge.
The final is scheduled to get underway at 17:50 (GMT) on Sunday 19 February.
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