Cameron Norrie came back from two sets down as he defeated Giulio Zeppieri to reach the third round of the Australian Open. The 19th seed played a passive opening few games as the Italian confidently struck the ball from the baseline especially with his forehand. The Italian qualifier was sharp in the early stages of the match and proactive as he took a 3-0 lead.
Eventually Norrie managed to gain some momentum on serve as he was aggressive and accurate, forcing Zeppieri behind the baseline on return. However by then it was too late as Zeppieri continued to hammer down big first serves and dictate play with the second shot. None of the Italian’s service games went to Deuce as a service hold to love secured the opening set in 33 minutes.
The second set didn’t start much better for Norrie as he was broken rather comfortably in the opening game with the 19th seed producing too many unforced errors. The Italian continued to cruise through his service games while Norrie struggled to implement what he wanted to do on return with Zeppieri dictating play.
In the tenth game, Norrie was given a lifeline as the pressure got to Zeppieri with the Brit breaking to level the set at 5-5. The tension increased as both players knew this was a must-win set as the second set went to a tiebreak. Eventually it was the Italian who was the more consistent player as he took the tiebreak 7-4, creating a two set lead over Norrie.
If the world number 22 wanted to come back into the match he would have to make a quick start to the third set and that’s exactly what he achieved. A break in the opening game helped Norrie’s charge with Zeppieri finding it harder to hold serve in the third set. It wasn’t all easy for the 28 year-old as he was forced to save break point in the sixth game but more clinical returning saw Norrie take a 5-2 lead. A hold to love saw Norrie back into the match, taking the third set.
After a long rain delay, the players were back on court with the delay not halting Norrie’s momentum as he converted his fifth break point of the opening game. The Brit had half-opportunities to secure the double break but he was denied through some clutch serving from Zeppieri. There was no hesitation from Norrie on serve as he only conceded four points on serve in the entire set therefore taking this match into a deciding set.
The final set saw Zeppieri regain his confidence from the baseline as he applied the pressure on Norrie’s serve. In the fourth game, the Italian found his range on the forehand and created break point. The Italian was denied though as some clutch play from Norrie saw him hold for 2-2. Both players continued to dominate on serve as there was a lot of aggressive patterns of play with the rallies getting longer.
In the end it was Zeppieri who blinked first, with the court open the Italian hit a forehand into the net as Norrie had the opportunity to serve the match out. Another forehand into the net saw Norrie take his first match point as he completed the comeback victory and booked a place in the third round.
Cameron Norrie  v Casper Ruud  | H2H & Match Fundamentals
Ruud has made a sizzling start to the season on serve but Norrie has been more efficient on return and the Brit will look to be equally as clinical in this match.
Playing Styles and Prediction
After a poor end to last season, Ruud has bounced back in style at the start of this season as he has been playing some flawless tennis. However the Norwegian needed a fifth set tiebreak to beat Max Purcell in the previous round and will be fully aware that he needs to be more efficient than that if he wants to go deep at Grand Slams.
Norrie will need to improve his numbers on serve if he wants to this match as this is the only way Norrie is going to be able to build confidence as he will look to use his serve to be aggressive. Meanwhile Ruud will look to be more aggressive on return as he will look to use depth and angles to set up passive shots from Norrie. A quick start is crucial for Norrie if he wants to win this match in what should be a very tight contest. Ruud’s good start to the season makes him slight favourite in this match but anything can happen in Grand Slam tennis as both players found out on Thursday.
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