This was the first time the British No.3 Cameron Norrie was playing an ATP main draw quarter-final and this win marks the first time he has beaten a Top-10 player, as he stunned No. 2 seed John Isner to advance to the semi-finals.
The most impressive thing about the match was not necessarily the level that Norrie displayed over the course of the two sets, but it was the way he handled the mental challenge of playing Isner. The Brit knew that he would not get that many opportunities to break Isner’s serve and that he would be under enormous pressure to stay with the higher-ranked American on his own service games, but he dealt with the match very well and pounced on the opportunity to get an early mini-break in the first set tiebreak, running away with the tiebreak, dropping just the single point to the American.
The second set was very much the same. Norrie still did not have many chances to break, but when he did, he made the most of those small windows of opportunity. The early break at the beginning of the second set helped settle the Brit down and he continued to serve very well to clinch the match in straight sets. The left-handed serve out towards Isner’s backhand was a tactic that Norrie regularly used and consistently benefited from, as Isner loves to protect his backhand side and camp into that corner. Norrie simply passed the ball into the open court time and time again.
This is a big step in the right direction for Norrie. At the beginning of the week it looked possible that we might see Norrie make the most of a depleted field, but pulling off the upset against a Top-10 player really shows how far he has come in a short space of time.
Norrie now moves on to a very different opponent and a very experienced opponent at that. The former Top-10 Gilles Simon is his next opponent, who plays in a completely different way. Simon is well-known for his ability to track down many balls over the baseline, he is great at anticipating the targets of his opponent and makes his opponent play more balls than he feels comfortable in doing. The key for Norrie to win this is to expect to hit two or three more balls for winners.
It is a winnable match for Norrie, but it is a very different match as most of the rallies will be under his control. If Norrie applies the right mindset he could strike big with another win here.
Prediction: Norrie in three sets
Norrie and Simon are scheduled on Court Central, not before 2:30pm (1:30pm BST).
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