Cameron Norrie could cap an incredible year by winning Indian Wells – an event no British tennis player has managed to win before.
Norrie reached the final of the tournament, sometimes dubbed the “fifth grand slam, with a flattering 6-2 6-4 victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and will meet Nikoloz Basilashvili in Sunday’s deciding match.
It was his 45th victory in 2021, a total that eclipses Novak Djokovic’s total of 44 for the year – the Serbian winning three of four Grand Slam tournaments.
The 26-year-old tennis star will overtake Dan Evans as Britain’s number one regardless of the outcome, and he is set to climb even higher in the rankings.
This is the sixth ATP Tour final that Norrie has reached in 2021, her first-ever ATP Masters 1000 event final, and hopes to end her brilliant season with a victory at this prestigious event.
It’s a tournament that has eluded Britons Greg Rusedski, Tim Henman and Andy Murray – who all made it to the final.
The southpaw has received a lot of praise for the way he has performed this week in the California heat.
Comparisons have been made with Rafael Nadal and not just because of the hand he uses to play tennis.
He brings great intensity and endurance to the pitch and is ready to engage in grueling rallies from the baseline.
Cameron Norrie coach Facundo Lugones told The Times: “The players know they’re gone for a long day and he’s not going to give it to them.
“They’re going to have to work really hard and be in good physical shape to beat him. When you’re a guy who shows up every day, a lot of players are sometimes not ready for that.
“The ability to not take a point away and to do it in every game, Cam takes people mentally and physically into positions that they become uncomfortable in and then they start to play more and more poorly. He competes incredibly well.
Norrie hopes to translate his solid performance at this tournament – and an impressive year on the ATP Tour – into a more dangerous player in all four of the big world tournaments next year, never having reached week two of a grand slam. .
“I had a couple of chances there to do the second week of a slam, but it didn’t go my way,” Norrie told reporters after beating 28th Dimitrov in an hour and 26 minutes.
“It was all a great learning experience for me. I hope that with these results I can place myself in a higher ranking there and then maybe have more chances.
“I faced some pretty decent players this year in the third round (at slam).
“These experiences have been great for me, these great matches.”
Norrie suffered third round defeats to Rafael Nadal in this year’s Australian and French openings, and to Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
Winning Indian Wells would be a big step for the Briton and he would collect £ 900,000 if he wins.
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