Cameron Norrie won the third title of his career after a tight straight sets victory over Reilly Opelka in Delray Beach. Despite their game styles it was actually the Brit who was more dominant on serve as he managed to neutralise Opelka’s power with a variety of different groundstrokes. Meanwhile the American was battling to hold his serve as he saved the first break point of the set in the third game with an ace.
Norrie continued to threaten on return but the big-serving American created effective patterns of play to win the long rallies and seal lengthy holds of serve. Three more break points were saved by the American as the first set predictably went to a tiebreak.
It was Norrie who was the most consistent in the tiebreak as Opelka committed to erratic unforced errors. The top seed won seven of the eight points as a forehand unforced error from the American sealed a 55 minute set.
In the second set Opelka opened up the space in the court more effectively therefore holding serve more comfortably. However the American couldn’t win the long points as Norrie continued to dictate the tempo of the rallies on his serve. Norrie came through his only tough service game in the fifth game with deep groundstrokes as the Brit continued to increase the pressure on return.
Norrie created his only break point of the set in the eighth game but was once again saved with one of Opelka’s 25 aces of the match as the American came through a tough service game. However the Brit continued to dominate on serve as the second set would be decided by another tiebreak.
The first eight points went on serve comfortably and on the ninth Opelka missed a tight passing shot down the line which would have given him the mini-break and the chance to serve out the second set. However Tennis is a sport decided on fine margins and that would be the crucial moment as Norrie won the next two points and sealed victory with a backhand unforced error from Opelka.
Norrie ‘Super Happy’ with performance and title
After the match Norrie told the ATP website that he was delighted to win the title and the performance that went with it, “I thought I played a very clean match,” Norrie said.
“I didn’t face a break point so that was great. I was happy with the way I played and obviously with the result. The tie-breaks I played extremely aggressively, the second one especially, I managed to put a couple of balls away and I was reading the play great. [I’m] super happy to get the win and beat a guy like Reilly, who is confident and playing well and won [the Dallas title] last week.
“I’m able to dictate the play from the beginning of the point. I’m definitely more aggressive than I was when I [first] came on tour.I had a tendency to be too passive in the bigger moments and I’ve changed that a little bit. I’ve been the one being the protagonist, the one executing the short balls and moving the other guy.”
Norrie’s third title of his career will come as a relief considering his underwhelming start to the season and comes as a confidence booster heading into his Indian Wells title defence. Norrie is now back up to 12 in the world and plays in Acapulco next in his final tournament before Indian Wells.
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