Even though the tour comes to an end after a long and exhausting year, Cameron Norrie continues to add to her accomplishments in the best season of her life.
At the BNP Paribas Indian Wells Open, Norrie entered his first quarterfinal of the ATP Masters 1000, beating American Tommy Paul 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
“I was just happy to be done,” he said. “I’m not really playing my best, but I fight hard and compete as hard as I can. In fact, in great times, I serve well.
With his victory, Norrie has now won 44 games this year, a distinction that puts him in sixth in the overall wins standings for 2021 alongside Novak Djokovic. Norrie, 26, will face 11th seed Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals after defeating sixth seed Casper Ruud, 6-3, 6-3.
Seed 21st in California, Norrie arrived in the fourth round after a fine victory over 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut. His reward was a big opportunity against Paul, a talented young American with loose, languid all-court play and a gentle two-handed backhand, who had beaten fourth-seeded Andrey Rublev in the previous round.
From the start, Norrie has behaved as he has throughout this season, putting up a wall on his side of the field and outlasting Paul in the early trades with his point-to-point intensity. Norrie took a 5-1 lead, then coldly ended the set on his second attempt.
Paul responded by hitting his forehand with more precision, continually approaching the net and he broke Norrie’s forehand to take the second set.
But Norrie’s 44 wins are a reflection of his ability to handle adversity and after the pair opened the set with five straight disjointed breaks, Norrie was tough enough to ignore his missed service matches and take control. He held the serve for 4-2 and maintained his intensity until the end.
The most impressive aspect of Norrie’s season has been the way he has maintained his level from tournament to tournament.
He played his first quarterfinal at Delray Beach the first week of the year and has now played nine quarterfinals and finals on all surfaces. After 10 long months, he is in the top 15 of the ATP race for Turin. There is more to come.
Grigor Dimitrov pulled off the biggest shock of the men’s tournament when he recovered from a set and led 4-1 to beat No.1 seed Daniil Medvedev.
Dimitrov ended up winning the second set 6-4 and then continued in that vein, with US Open champion Medvedev unable to come up with an answer. The Bulgarian comfortably won the third set 6-3 for his best win of the year.