DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA - JANUARY 11: Cameron Norrie of Great Britain returns the shot to Frances Tiafoe of the United States during the Quarterfinals of the Delray Beach Open by Vitacost.com at Delray Beach Tennis Center on January 11, 2021 in Delray Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Tennis | ATP San Diego | Norrie eases past Shapovalov to reach San Diego semis, top seed Rublev awaits
Cameron Norrie is into his sixth semi-final of the season after thrashing 4th seed Denis Shapovalov with a loss of just four games. The early exchanges were tight with Shapovalov feeling confident on both forehand and backhand wings inside the baseline. However that didn’t faze Norrie as he continued to use powerful groundstrokes from the back of the court, using incredible defensive shots to extend the rallies.
Eventually the British number two did find another gear and after saving a break point in the previous game, took control and broke to love in the seventh game for a 4-3 lead. Despite Shapovalov continuing to hit some fiery returns, Norrie managed to neutralised the Canadian’s firepower to control the match. A powerful forehand return of his own secured a second break of serve to seal the opening set.
Everything Norrie was doing was causing Shapovalov problems and in the fourth game a powerful backhand return force a backhand volley error to secure the first break of the second set. Every tactic the Canadian tried seemed ineffective against Norrie’s ability to cover the court and produce deep shots in uncomfortable positions. A run of four consecutive games was complete as Shapovalov hit a forehand into the net.
A dominant performance seals the Brit’s 40th win of the season and a chance to reach his fifth final of the season and his second on hard courts.
Cameron Norrie v Andrey Rublev  H2H & Match Fundamentals
Rublev has had another very consistent season having reached five ATP finals this season including two at Masters 1000 level in Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati. The Russian’s mix of aggressive baseline play and variety has seen him cause most of the players on the ATP tour problems.
Norrie will need to continue to elevate his game if he wants to win this clash with the Russian doing everything the Brit does but that much powerfully. Should Norrie play like he did against Shapovalov then this will be a very good match but everything suggests that Rublev’s game is so consistently powerful that he should reach his sixth final of 2021.
Prediction: Rublev in three sets.
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