Friday , July 12 2024

Cameron Norrie struggles with heat as Rio Open title defence ends with semi-final exit to Mariano Navone | Tennis News

Cameron Norrie’s Rio Open title defence is over with the British No 1 knocked out in the semi-finals by qualifier Mariano Navone after struggling with the Brazilian heat.

Second seed Norrie, aiming to become the first man to win this tournament twice, lost 6-4 6-2 to his Argentine opponent, who will now face compatriot Sebastian Baez in Sunday’s final.

Norrie defeated Carlos Alcaraz to win the Rio Open 12 months ago but has not reached a final since and was comfortably seen off by Navone, the world No 113, on Saturday.

Cameron Norrie, Rio Open (Associated Press)
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Norrie struggled with the Brazilian heat on Saturday

The 28-year-old lost his opening service game and although he broke back immediately, Navone picked up a second break to move 4-3 up and went on to take the first set after Norrie saved three breaks points at 5-3 down.

Norrie and Navone traded further breaks at the start of the second set before another slog of a battle in the third game, which saw Norrie save four points on his serve before eventually succumbing.

After falling 5-2 down, Norrie received treatment from the physio but got back on his feet to see the game out even though his fate was already sealed.

Navone’s win, his first over a top-50 player, made him the first qualifier to reach an ATP 500 final since Jiri Vesely in Dubai in 2022.

Earlier on, Baez beat compatriot Francisco Cerundolo 7-5 6-0.

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At the Qatar Open, meanwhile, Karen Khachanov defeated 18-year-old Jakub Mensik in straight sets to claim his sixth ATP Tour title, winning 7-6 (14-12) 6-4.

Mensik, ranked 116th in the world, beat Andy Murray and world No 5 Alexander Zverev en route to becoming the first teenager to reach the Qatar Open final

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Karen Khachanov beat 18-year-old Jakub Mensik 7-6 6-4 to win the Qatar Open as he sealed the sixth ATP title of his career.

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