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Cameron Norrie cruises into Rio Open quarter-finals

Cameron Norrie cruises into Rio Open quarter-finals
© Reuters
Defending Rio Open champion Cameron Norrie strolls into the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 tournament with a 6-1 6-1 win over Chile's Tomas Barrios Vera.

British number one Cameron Norrie remains on track for back-to-back Rio Open triumphs thanks to a second-round demolition of Tomas Barrios Vera.

The world number 23 was on the clay for just over an hour, crushing his Chilean foe 6-1 6-1 to progress to the quarter-finals, just his second of the year after also making the last eight in Auckland.

"I really played well. I was really accurate with my ball, I hit very close to the lines today and made it really difficult for him. I was very disciplined on the return and enjoyed it," Norrie said on the court.

"I'm gonna keep focusing on myself and my level and keep taking care of my matches. Out here it's tough, the clay is quite heavy so I just want to get in amongst the clay and make my opponent uncomfortable."

Bidding to bounce back from his dampening exit to Federico Coria in last week's Argentina Open, Norrie made light work of Hugo Dellien in the first round to set up a maiden ATP Tour meeting with world number 120 Vera.

The British number one immediately earned a break to 15 for a 2-0 lead in the first set, and even though Vera surprisingly found a response straight away, the South American was soon overwhelmed by the former Wimbledon semi-finalist.

After his feathers were slightly ruffled by that break back for Vera, Norrie kicked back into gear and won four games on the spin to close an ultimately dominant first set, before moving a set and a break up straight after the restart.

As was the case at the start of the first set, Vera initially had a few answers to Norrie's surge and even fashioned another break point in the fourth game, but his failure to convert that rare chance proved incredibly costly.

Including that slightly nervy hold, Norrie strung together another four-game winning sequence to race into the last eight in style, winning a remarkable 71% of return points against Vera's first serve.

On the down-the-line forehand shot which served him well throughout, Norrie added: "I think that's a good sign when I'm felling good and executing that one. Maybe sometimes a little overconfident on it but you don't want to overuse it for sure."

The 28-year-old - one of just three seeds currently left in the tournament - will vie for a place in the semi-finals against Brazil's world number 82 Thiago Seyboth Wild, whom he is yet to clash with at the top level.

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Britain's Cameron Norrie celebrates after winning his third round match against Norway's Casper Ruud on January 20, 2024
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