Cameron Norrie and Carlos Alcaraz, having played the final of the Argentina Open last Sunday, travelled to Brazil where they, as the top two seeds, are scheduled to meet again in the final of the Rio Open being staged on the Jockey Club Brazileiro clay courts in Rio de Janeiro.
Last week I was against a couple of Argentines in Buenos Aires, so I think I'm ready for this challenge [against Monteiro]. I will have to play well because he will be coming out with a lot of confidence. Cameron Norrie
Norrie the British No1 and second seed, advanced into the second round of the ATP 500 event following his 7-5 6-1 defeat of Argentina’s Juan Manuel Cerundolo whilst Alcaraz, the word No.2 from Spain and top seed, was on the brink of victory against Brazil’s wild card Mateus Alvez when play was suspended by rain with the score standing at 6-4 5-3.
Norrie, who lost to Alcaraz last Sunday, was not at his best but even so, was good enough to take out his opponent playing on a Lucky Loser ticket, in straight sets to progress into round two where local boy Thiago Monteiro awaits after beating Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-1 3-6 7-6(2).
“I started OK, I just played one loose game,” said Norrie. “Then I had chances on his serve and he actually served really well, played really well on the big points.
“I thought I was a bit unlucky to get broken but I was able to find my range, find my legs and used my backhand pretty effectively in the end.
“Last week I was against a couple of Argentines in Buenos Aires, so I think I’m ready for this challenge [against Monteiro]. I will have to play well because he will be coming out with a lot of confidence.”
Despite starting strongly Norrie failed to convert two break points in the second game only to find himself a few moments later, a break down as Cerundolo took full advantage of some poor forehands from the 27-year-old Brit.
Whilst the momentum was with the South American who saved a break point in the eighth game but then failed to serve out for the set as Norrie’s game began to pick up.
He broke to level the at 5-5 as he put together a run of three games to clinch the opening set.
However he was back in trouble when he went down 0-40 at the start of the second but was able to serve his way out of trouble and with Cerundolo’s confidence seemingly starting to ebb, swept into a 3-1 lead and gained a double break after a long sixth game and finally served out comfortably for the victory after 78-minutes.
“He was playing well and had some matches here in qualies, so I knew he was going to start well,” Norrie admitted. “But I was able to find my range and find my legs and really use my backhand pretty effectively towards the end.”
Meanwhile Cerundolo’s older brother, fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo, had better luck on Tuesday with a 4-6 6-3 6-3 win over Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena but the Fabio Fognini match against the Chilean qualifier Tomas Barrios Vera was suspended with the flamboyant Italian leading 6-2 5-2.
Two other matches scheduled for play on Tuesday were also delayed and will now be played on Wednesday.