Cameron Norrie made a great start with his opening match victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Indian Wells final. In doing so, he has completed a hat-trick of ATP titles this week and joins Roger Federer as being only player to win three consecutive Grand Slam events at least once in their career.
Cameron Norrie (right) earned his second championship of the year and the most important of his career.
Cameron Norrie became the first Briton to win the Indian Wells championship when he overcame Nikoloz Basilashvili after coming back from a set and a break down.
Norrie, 26, defeated the Georgian 3-6 6-4 6-1 to claim one of sports’ most prestigious trophies.
On the court, he exclaimed, “I’m so delighted, I can’t even explain it.”
Norrie has risen to British number one as a result of his achievements in California, and he is in contention to compete in the ATP Finals, which take place at the conclusion of the season.
Norrie will finish the year ranked 16th in the world, up from 74th at the start of the year, following a remarkable season in which he reached six finals and won 47 matches.
Norrie had taken an early lead in the opening set with a break, but was pushed back by the big-hitting Basilashvili. However, the British player, whose tenacity and fitness have been the hallmarks of his great year, broke to love to tie the match and force a deciding set.
The left-hander broke early in the third and survived three break opportunities on his service to go up 3-0 as the Georgian world number 36 started to make unforced mistakes, finally sending a forehand long on championship point to award Norrie his first major triumph.
“It’s hard for me to believe. I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I’d win before the tournament began, so it’s incredible “Since Andy Murray’s victory in Paris in 2016, Norrie is the first British player to reach the final of a Masters 1000 event.
Norrie sets a British record.
Norrie’s success came only a month after compatriot Emma Raducanu’s surprise US Open victory, indicating that British tennis is reviving.
While Raducanu’s ascension to the top of the British charts was swift and spectacular, Norrie’s climb has been more gradual and based on consistency.
Only world number one Novak Djokovic has reached as many finals as Norrie this year, owing to his flexibility, which has seen him compete on hard, clay, and grass courts.
In July, he won his first ATP singles championship at the Los Cabos Open in Mexico, and he has now followed it up with one of the most coveted tour victories outside of the four Grand Slams.
Murray, Tim Henman, and Greg Rusedski all reached the Indian Wells final but finished runner-up in California, thus he has done something no other British player has done.
Norrie is in 10th position in the fight to qualify for the eight-man ATP Finals in Turin next month, and with eighth-placed Rafael Nadal out for the rest of the season, he’s on the verge of passing ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz and securing a berth.
He’ll participate in events in Vienna and Paris in the coming weeks as he tries to rack up enough points to achieve what seemed impossible at the start of the season.
Norrie dedicates his triumph to his parents.
At 5-4 in the second set, Norrie showed off his finest game with a wonderful drop-shot and lob combination, as well as an inside out forehand volley, to set up a break to love and a complete shift in momentum.
Following a break early in the third, he had to fight off three break chances to go up 3-0, and he never looked back as Basilashvili returned from a restroom break to throw in a terrible service game, leaving Norrie serving for the victory.
The Briton just needed one of his two championship points to win, as Basilashvili’s racquet continued to make blunders.
“He went through a spell when he hit so many wins. It was difficult for me to gain confidence. He was simply hammering wins and the rallies were incredibly brief “Norrie said,
“I was able to find my feet again, start moving again, and make the rallies physical like I’ve been doing all tournament, and it worked in my favor when I hit a couple of huge shots in the 5-4 game in the second set.”
Norrie dedicated his triumph to his parents, whose sole challenge of the day was attempting to carry the heavy glass trophy.
Norrie was born in South Africa and raised in New Zealand before playing collegiate tennis in the United States. He has a Scottish father and a Welsh mother.
While many of his friends followed the more traditional path from junior tennis to the professional Futures tour, Norrie wanted to combine his sport with a sociology degree to live a more “normal” life.
Russell Fuller is a tennis journalist.
Norrie was in risk of being swamped when he lost service early in the second round. Basilashvili is renowned for his devastating power.
However, the 26-year-old knuckled down, broke to take the set with some aggressive brilliance, and then threw the Georgian off in the decider with some amazing defense.
Even more astounding when you consider that the shoes he had placed on top of his locker vanished overnight, forcing him to break in a new pair in the most important match of his life.
Norrie’s best victory puts him in the world’s top 16 and puts him within 115 points of the guy who presently holds the last qualifying berth for the ATP Finals.
It’s a tall order to expect him to keep up his pace after swapping countries and having little time to relax, but he’ll be competing in tournaments in Vienna, Paris, and Stockholm before the season is up.