Cameron Norrie is into the second round of the Australian Open after a convincing win over Juan Pablo Varillas. Although the win may seem straightforward, the reality is much different as Norrie was made to work hard by the resilient Peruvian. In the second game, Norrie was forced to save a break point as Pablo Varillas attacked the Brit’s backhand.
However a stunning forehand cross-court saw Norrie hold as he looked to apply the pressure in the following return games. That is exactly what Norrie did as the world number 22 created seven break points in his next two return games with relentless hitting from the forehand side.
The world number 81 continued to problem solve on serve as he saved the first six break points with ease before Norrie’s quality proved too much as he took a 3-2 lead. In his next three service games, Norrie only conceded three points as he was controlled the points and proved too aggressive for Pablo Varillas as he cruised through the opening set in 58 minutes.
After struggling to gain control in the opening set, the second set was much more comfortable for Norrie as he only dropped one point in the opening three games. A catalogue of unforced errors from Pablo Varillas helped as the 19th seed took a 3-0 lead. There was no real threat from the Peruvian for the majority of the second set as Norrie powered into a 5-1 lead with forehands of the highest quality as Pablo Varillas’ defence wasn’t up to the level required.
A replay of last season did take place in the eighth game though as Norrie lost concentration and intensity in the eighth game when he served for the second set the first time around. This allowed Pablo Varillas to gain one of the breaks back with some consistent returning as Norrie produced unforced errors. Eventually Norrie held comfortably in the tenth game as the world number 22 took a two set lead.
In the third set, Norrie created a wave of break point opportunities as he continued to pounce on Pablo Varillas’ tame serve. The Brit turned up the aggression and broke in the third and seventh games as he had the opportunity to serve for the match. On his third match point, another powerful serve from Norrie sealed a confident win and a place in the second round in Melbourne.
Cameron Norrie  v Giulio Zeppieri [Q] | H2H & Match Fundamentals
Norrie will look to be more efficient on return as both players have been very consistent on serve so far this season.
Playing Styles and Prediction
Zeppieri had an inconsistent 2023 season having started the year well with a couple of Challenger finals. However since then the Italian hasn’t really produced consistent form in order to become a top 100 player although Zeppieri scored three good wins to qualify for the Australian Open. Now the 22 year-old will hope to build on the form gained in Melbourne and elevate his level consistently throughout the year.
Norrie will look to be aggressive with the forehand as he looks to test Zeppieri’s defensive skills from the baseline. Meanwhile the Italian will look to be consistent on return as he aims to take advantage of any short second serves from the Brit. This will be a good test for Norrie but the Brit should have too much consistent power for the highly-motivated Italian.
Prediction: Norrie in four sets.
Lorenzo Sonego def Dan Evans 4-6 7-6(8) 6-2 7-6(4)
As Norrie prepares for the second round, Dan Evans is out of the tournament after a valiant four set defeat to Lorenzo Sonego. Evans played flawless tennis for two sets but couldn’t take his opportunities as Sonego edged out the second set tiebreak 10-8 in front of a lively Court three crowd.
The Italian dominated the third set with Evans having more opportunities in the fourth set in order to force a decider. However Evans lacked energy and physicality as he ultimately went out of the tournament in a resilient effort.
Now Evans will look to continue his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury suffered last year and plan his next steps as he looks to get back into the world’s top 30 before Roland Garros.
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