Former college star Cameron Norrie played the role of teacher last week at the Western & Southern Open, schooling three 19-year-olds on his way to the semifinals in Cincinnati. In a thrilling quarter-final clash, the British contender taught Carlos Alcaraz a lesson in staying the course as he responded to the third seed’s comeback bid with a change of his own in a 7-6(4 ), 6-7(4). , 6-4 victory.
The 26-year-old Norrie, who had beaten two other teenagers in Holger Rune and Ben Shelton, surrendered a 4-1 lead in the second set before fighting back from 3-1 down with an unyielding performance against the onslaught of the spanish He got the decisive break in the ninth match of the set.
While Alcaraz was below his best for stretches of the night, he earned one of the points of the season with a 5-4 tiebreak in the second set. The electrical exchange claimed the life of the 19-year-old, but Norrie never folded.
As he demonstrated in his previous three set against Andy Murray, one of the key qualities that has taken Norrie to the top of his game is his composure. In that match against his compatriot, Norrie’s head didn’t drop, his shoulders didn’t slump, and he came out of the bathroom break after the first set still positive. After three tough, physical sets against the former world No.1, Norrie progressed.
While the Briton did not play the flashy brand of tennis that Alcaraz used to beat him in each of their previous three meetings, he frustrated his opponent with his consistent play on center court, patiently from the bottom line and taking advantage of their hard-earned opportunities. to enter the court.
“It’s tough because it can take the racket completely out of your hand,” Norrie said, speaking of his 25 winners and 30 errors in the match. “When he is dictating with the right it is very hard and you are running a lot.
“I just had to try to put the ball in awkward positions on the court,” Norrie explained. “I have been able to serve well, I have improved a lot in my previous matches.”
The Brit has moved up two places to No. 9 in the ATP Live Rankings this week and climbed three places to No. 11 in the ATP Live Race in Turin.
With the loss, Alcaraz falls to 17-4 at the ATP Masters 1000s this season and misses out on a chance to claim his third title at this level on the year, a feat that would have lifted him to a new high in the his career at world number 2. .
Instead, he remains at No. 4 in the live rankings, leaving an opening for Stefanos Tsitsipas to overtake him with the Cincinnati title. However, Alcaraz will have a chance to reach world No. 1 at the US Open starting August 29.
Norrie will play Borna Coric in his semi-final after the Croatian saw off Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4. Tsitsipas, who could only manage a single break in a three-set slugfest with John Isner but came through 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, will now face Daniil Medvedev. The world No. 1 beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (1), 6-3.
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