Cameron Norrie pulled off one of the upsets of the men’s draw so far as he booked his place in the last thirty-two of the Miami Open. The Brit played a tactically sound match to defeat No. 9 seed Grigor Dimitrov in their very first meeting.
Dimitrov looked to be in control early on, dominating a lot of the points from the off, but Norrie stuck in it and began to take the game to the Bulgarian. The Brit barely allowed Dimitrov to claim cheap points, forcing him to hit one more shot as the mental challenge became increasingly tougher for the ninth-seed. Norrie stayed composed to gain an important one set lead.
The second set saw the physical element come into play as the long, gruelling rallies became more frequent. Just like the first set, Norrie managed him game exceptionally well and held his nerve to close out the contest in straight sets. An extremely high first serve percentage (78%) aided Norrie in claiming his 13th victory of the season.
Preview: Norrie v Taylor Fritz  | H2H: Norrie leads 3-2
The British no. 3’s next encounter will be against home favourite and 22nd-seeded Taylor Fritz, a player he has beaten more often than not. There is no reason why Norrie can’t claim another scalp and reach the last sixteen of a Masters event for the first time since Monte Carlo in 2019.
The 25-year-old has lost just six times in 19 matches this season and has won four out of his last five, so he has to be feeling confident with himself at the moment. Fritz will also be full of belief after he bulldozed his way to the third round for the loss of just four games.
The pair have met on five separate occasions, all within the last three seasons. Norrie has won the last two, although they are tied 2-2 on outdoor hard courts.
The American is a clean ball striker and like most of his compatriots, he boasts a huge serve. In fact, he has served as hard as 149 miles per hour in the past so his delivery is definitely his most reliable weapon. Fritz uses a fair amount of top spin on his groundstrokes, often opting to use short cross court angles to manoeuvre his opponent.
The glaring weaknesses in the 22nd-seed’s game is his ability in the forecourt. Once forced in this particular area of the court, the American looks like a rabbit in headlights at times and seems powerless. Fritz also isn’t the most nimble and can be wrong-footed on several occasions.
Norrie will need to keep his opponent moving if he is to enjoy success in this meeting. Deliberate short slices would be a good idea from the Brit to draw Fritz to the net and pick off a passing shot winner. It is essential for the 25-year-old to take care of his own serve, which will be expected after his immaculate serving display in the last round.
Both players are playing close to their best level of tennis so this is a tricky one to call. Their last three matches have gone the distance and I can see this one going down a similar route. Norrie seems the more match tough of the two right now and that’s why I am backing him for the victory.
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