Cameron Norrie proud as he matches legend in Rio

Cameron Norrie plays a shot.

Cameron Norrie advanced to the semi-finals of the Rio Open, defeating Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild in front of his home crowd.

The British number one gained a win to go to the last four as the defending champion in Rio.

Norrie dropped only two games in a convincing victory over Tomas Barrios Vera in the previous round and continued where he left off on clay.

He sprinted out of the gate, broke Seyboth Wild’s second and third service games and held his own to win the opening set in less than half an hour.

After a quiet start, the stands filled up significantly, and Seyboth Wild benefited from the increased support, putting in a much-improved performance to equalise the scores.

With his opponent’s confidence growing and the noise levels increasing, Norrie allowed errors to seep in, including cracks in his first serve and a misjudged long forehand that broke him for the first set.

Seyboth Wild was powerful enough to make the breakthrough count and force a deciding set, but Norrie was back on his game as he raced to a 5-1 lead, breaking the Brazilian twice more along the way.

In a back-and-forth exchange, Norrie lost three match points and blew the opportunity to seal the deal. Meanwhile, His South American foe displayed impressive fortitude.

However, he had soon built up three more match points on the serve and converted the second one when Seyboth Wild made an unforced error.

“I was really proud of how hard I fought, it was so humid and tough physically,” Norrie told Sky Sports.

“It was a tough one and the atmosphere was great. These are exactly the kind of matches you want to play.”

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Norrie became the third reigning champion in Rio to advance to the last four, having reached his 24th tour-level semi-final (14-9).

After winning the tournament in 2022, Carlos Alcaraz progressed to the final last season (losing to Norrie), while Rafael Nadal reached the semifinals in 2015. There has never been a double Rio singles champion.

Norrie improves to 8-3 on the ATP this season, with this latest victory one of his biggest in recent months for the British No 1 who is out to arrest an alarming rankings slide.

He also claims a 33-3 record on clay against players who are ranked outside the Top 50 since the start of 2021.

“It’s massive,” Norrie said of returning to a tour-level semi-final. “I had a tough patch at the end of last year and I just wanted to stay strong. It’s wins like this that make it count.”