Cameron Norrie is a Masters 1000 champion after coming back from a set and a break down to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Indian Wells final. It was a perfect start from the Brit as he used different heights and speeds to put Basilashvili under pressure and a forehand unforced error from the Georgian gave Norrie the early break at 2-1.
But after consolidating for a 3-1 lead, Norrie played more conservatively and tentatively allowing Basilashvili to load some of those big forehands into the corners of the court. Having only made two first serves in the sixth game, a double fault from Norrie gave Basilashvili the break back at 3-3. The 29th seed continued to dominate from the forehand side and an immense forehand winner sealed five games in a row to take opening set 6-3.
Norrie lost control of the first set and the start of the second set was a similar story as Basilashvili continued to release his ferocious his forehand as he lead by an early break at 2-1. However Norrie survived the Basilashvili storm and started to play more high-risk tennis to immediately break back and win the crucial points on his serve. Despite the Georgian ridiculous tennis from the back of the court, Norrie held his own and produced a terrific return game to break to love and force a deciding set.
The final set was all about Norrie’s court coverage, defensive shot-making and redirection of play as Basilashvili’s power had been neutralised. A mis-fired backhand from the 29th seed sealed the first of two breaks of serve for Norrie. The Brit kept his cool when it really mattered as he became the first Brit to win Indian Wells to win his first masters 1000 title of his career.
‘It means so much to me’
After the match Norrie tried his best to describe the elation of winning the biggest title of his career, “It means so much to me, my biggest title. I’m so happy. I can’t even describe it right now,” Norrie told the ATP website.
“It was a strange match today but absolutely massive for me and my team. I can’t really believe it. If you’d have told me I’d have won before the tournament started I wouldn’t have believed you, so it’s amazing. I was a little bit uncomfortable. It was quite windy and… for a stage he went through, he hit so many winners and it was tough for me to get some confidence on my rally balls because the rallies were really short.
“He was just blasting winners, so when I made a couple of those big shots at that 5-4 game in the second set it gave me a lot of confidence. I was able to find my feet and start moving again. I made the rallies physical like I’d been doing all tournament and it worked in my favour. I’ve been really enjoying my tennis and been enjoying being out on court and competing in the big moments. I’m just really pleased with how I handled the occasion. I think I’m doing a lot better with that this year. I lost a lot of those finals, so it’s nice to get the big one today.”
Norrie is now up to number 15 in the world and has a good shot at reaching the ATP Finals in Turin. Norrie’s final tournaments will be in Vienna, Paris, and Stockholm which will determine whether he can qualify for the ATP Finals.
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