Cameron Norrie in the second round
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04: Cameron Norrie of Great Britain plays a double-handed backhand shot in their third round match against John Isner of United States on day seven of Mutua Madrid Open at La Caja Magica on May 04, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Tennis | ATP Rome 2022 | Norrie downs resilient Nardi to set Cilic test in round two

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Cameron Norrie [9] def Luca Nardi [WC] 6-4 6-4
  • Norrie v Marin Cilic | H2H: Norrie leads 1-0
ROME, ITALY – Cameron Norrie overcame a resilient Luca Nardi to reach the second round in Rome where he will face a testing challenge in Marin Cilic.

 

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Cameron Norrie [9] def Luca Nardi [WC] 6-4 6-4

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Cameron Norrie is into the second round in Rome after overcoming resilient Italian wildcard Luca Nardi. The Italian made a confident start given it was his first ATP tour match as he was the aggressor and defended Norrie’s attacking patterns of play. Nardi’s early aggression was rewarded with break points as he looked to gain a shock lead.

However Norrie used his quality with the forehand and experience to fend off the early wave of momentum from the 19 year-old and eventually would grind out the break for a 3-2 lead. The Brit followed that up with successive love holds with the Italian failing to create any openings against the Brit’s stubborn defence.

Nardi threatened with a late break as he tried to be aggressive from all areas of the court and expose the ninth seed’s tentative play. However Norrie was bold on the big points and saved two break points as he held to take the opening set 6-4.

Norrie continued the momentum in the second set as he looked to finish the match off early and took advantage of some unforced errors from the Italian to break in the opening game. That didn’t phase Nardi though as he did well to stop the lead from getting bigger as the teenager constructed some effective patterns of play.

However Nardi didn’t create a single break point in the second set and Norrie’s confidence on serve was met with a comfortable victory in the end as he booked his place into the second round in Rome.

 

Cameron Norrie [9] v Marin Cilic   H2H & Match Fundamentals

Cameron Norrie [9] v Marin Cilic H2H: Norrie leads 1-0
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After his opening round win Norrie will look to consolidate his form as he takes on Marin Cilic in the second round.

 

Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2022 – Clay)

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H2H: Cameron Norrie (WR 11) Marin Cilic (WR 23)
Tournament Previous Best R2 (2019, 2021) SF (2018)
1st Serve % 71.6 57.4
Service Games Won % 78.1 83.3
Break Points Saved % 58.9 66.7
2nd Serve Return Points Won % 52.3 49.1
Break Points Converted % 38.7 45.9

Cilic has been clinical on serve and return throughout this clay court season so Norrie will need to up his game on the big points.

 

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Playing Styles and Prediction

After a good start to the season in Australia, Cilic is struggling for consistency as he looks to win back-to-back matches for the first time since the Australian Open. The Croatian’s kick serve and point construction is deadly on clay and he will look to take advantage and gain a big win on the road to Roland Garros.

Norrie will need to mix up the pace of the rallies and implement a range of spins and power on the ball to avoid powering flat winners past the Brit’s defence. Norrie should have too much tactical variety for the Croatian as he looks to take advantage of a comfortable draw after Carlos Alcaraz’s withdrawal.

Prediction: Norrie in straight sets.

 

Nikoloz Basilashvili def Dan Evans 7-6(2) 6-2

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As Norrie heads for the second round, Dan Evans is out of the tournament in the opening round after defeat to Nikoloz Basilashvili. Rome was the perfect opportunity to build on confidence gained in Madrid and Evans made a good start breaking the Georgian twice in the opening set.

However Basilashvili powered back as the Brit failed to serve the opening set with the opening set heading into the tiebreak. From then on the Georgian seized control as he came to the net to finish points off quickly and cruise through the tiebreak, 7-2 therefore claiming the opening set in 70 minutes.

Evans couldn’t stop Basilashvili’s forceful play as he was broken twice in the second set as he crashed out of the Eternal city. Evans will now head to Roland Garros where he is likely to be unseeded with the second grand slam of the season starting on the 22nd of May.

 

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