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

Cameron Norrie beaten 6-4 6-2 by qualifier and world No 113 Mariano Navone in semi-finals of Rio Open; British No 1 struggles with the heat in Brazil as his title defence ends with straight-sets defeat; Navone to face fellow Argentine Sebastian Baez in Sunday's final

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Highlights as defending champion Cameron Norrie lost 6-4 6-2 to Mariano Navone in the semi-finals of the Rio Open

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.

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Norrie was booed by Rio Open crowd after an hitting underarm serve
Cameron Norrie, Rio Open (Associated Press)
Image: 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.

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"It's incredible," said Navone, who will now play in his maiden ATP Tour final. "I played so good all week.

"Today was very hot and humid, it's tough to play in these conditions, but I've played six matches in a row so I feel pretty good."

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

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 Andrey Rublev 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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