British No. 3 Cameron Norrie bounced the No. 3 seed Adrian Mannarino to extend his head-to-head lead over the Frenchman in straight sets in a late finish at the Delray Beach Open.
Norrie already had a match under his belt while Mannarino was taking to the match court for the first time this year, and perhaps it showed as the Brit jumped out to a 3-0 lead, breaking the Frenchman twice in a row.
Mannarino got one of the breaks back immediately, bit lost out again towards the end of the set, leaving Norrie to close out a lead comfortably.
Mannarino put some pressure on Norrie at the start of the second set, breaking the Brit and it was his turn to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Norrie broke back and held firm a few games later as Mannarino tried to even things up, saving two more break points. The Frenchman’s resistance crumbled again in the penultimate game as Norrie broke once more and served out the match to love.
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Both players have been ranked higher than their current positions and this is a pretty even match up for the No. 3 Brit. If we are looking at the most recent stats for a fragmented year last year, Norrie has been on the end of some real heartbreakers, especially in Slams, but he was able to outlast Mannarino in some gruelling rallies.
Tiafoe was caught napping a little in his encounter to reach the quarter-final, and he can ill-afford a slow start against a player with momentum.
Tiafoe relies on an aggressive game with a big serve and combination forehand. While Norrie might not pack the same punch, he marginally up on Tiafoe in terms of getting that point-starter in and both are effective returners so it will be key for Norrie to get on the end of those serves.
We have spoken a lot about Norrie’s movement over the restart, and that variety could see him through to a first tour-level win. Especially pleasing has been watching him march forward to finish off his points and if he can keep Tiafoe on the hop, a semi-final berth could be his reward – but he will have to work for this one.
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