It seems as though Cameron Norrie has forgotten how to lose at the moment as he swept past Nikoloz Basilashvili for the loss of just three games. The 25 year-old was firmly in charge from start to finish as he improves his overall season record to 8-3.
Norrie picked up where he left off in qualifying and came out of the blocks extremely quickly. The Briton had an answer to everything his opponent threw at him from the first ball and seemed to have won the match before it even got started. The 25-year-old raced to a one set lead, bagelling Basilashvili without really producing his very best tennis. Norrie committed just one unforced error in the opener and won over 70% of points on return.
It took the Georgian eight games to win his first, but once he did he appeared to be gaining some much-needed momentum. The former world no. 16 went up 3-1 in the second, completely against the run of play. Norrie hadn’t won 72% of his matches this season for no reason and broke back shortly after. The Brit once again demonstrated how match tough he has become and won the last five games of the contest to reach the last sixteen.
The 25-year-old was relentless as made life exceptionally difficult for his opponent – hitting eleven winners and just nine unforced errors as well as winning 77% of second serve return points. Basilashvili was completely outplayed by the Brit as his wretched run of form continues. The world no. 40 has now lost 14 out of his last 16 matches, with his only victories in this period coming over players outside the top 250.
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Cameron Norrie [Q] v Karen Khachanov | H2H: First Meeting
Norrie’s next opponent will be Karen Khanchanov, who defeated eighth-seeded Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5. The Russian will be a tricky opponent for the Brit considering he does have some serious pedigree on this surface. The 24-year-old dispatched Novak Djokovic in the final of the Paris Masters back in 2018 and has previously been as high as no. 8 in the world rankings.
Khachanov boasts one of the biggest games on the circuit. He has a huge serve, backed up by a heavy, powerful forehand and solid backhand. The Russian moves surprisingly well for a big man and has no problem putting in a shift on the defensive end.
His deadly one-two punch of serve then forehand has been a pattern of play that has reaped many rewards throughout his young career. In his victory over Wawrinka, Khachanov won an impressive 80% of points behind his first serve, and 61% behind his second delivery.
Norrie will simply have to do what he knows best: dig in and fight for every point. As much as the Russian has an explosive game, he can go through phases where his level completely drops – and that is when the Brit will have to capitalise. Norrie will be more than happy doing his fair share of defending in this match-up.
Khachanov has been in decent form this year, posting a respectable 6-2 record on the season. The Brit has also been playing great recently so something will have to give. The indoor hard courts may sway this match in favour of the world no. 21, allowing himself to hit Norrie off the court, which is no easy feat by any means.
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