Nor­rie shocks Schwartz­man to claim great­est ca­reer win

Bri­ton saves match points to stun ninth seed in five-set epic Prepa­ra­tion reaps re­wards as Ar­gen­tine is hit by cramp

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport | Us Open - By Si­mon Briggs TEN­NIS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Bri­tish No3 Cameron Nor­rie pulled off com­fort­ably his great­est win at a ma­jor when he am­bushed Diego Schwartz­man in a bizarre and topsy-turvy epic, fight­ing back from two sets down and sav­ing a cou­ple of match points into the bar­gain.

The match set a US Open record – though not one that Nor­rie seemed es­pe­cially pleased with – by rack­ing up 58 break points, which works out at more than one per game. Such a statis­tic was hardly what we had ex­pected from the fast and server-friendly Laykold sur­face. Dur­ing last week’s Western and South­ern Open, these courts threw up more aces than the Bat­tle of Bri­tain.

But then with the 5ft 7in Schwartz­man of­ten pop­ping down his first serve at less than 100mph, be­fore at­tack­ing fiercely in his re­turn games, the tra­di­tional rules of en­gage­ment proved ir­rel­e­vant. As the match built to a dra­matic con­clu­sion, in which Nor­rie’s re­cent out­ings at Bri­tish exhibition events surely gave him an ad­van­tage, the lack of fans on Court Five seemed all the more pe­cu­liar.

De­spite some fine mo­ments on the reg­u­lar tour, Nor­rie had never re­ally put it all to­gether at a slam be­fore, per­haps strug­gling with the ex­tra pres­sure that comes with these mar­quee events. His only pre­vi­ous win over a top-100 player had come against Peter Go­jowczyk at the French Open in 2018 – and even then the Ger­man re­tired with an in­jury in the sec­ond set.

Schwartz­man, though, is the ninth seed here and the world No13. By beat­ing him, Nor­rie earned him­self a crack at a less cel­e­brated name – Fed­erico Co­ria. The world No 103 from Ar­gentina sneaked through when his first-round op­po­nent re­tired early in the fifth set.

Usu­ally, by the time the play­ers show up for the US Open, they are run­ning on fumes af­ter a back­break­ing year-long work­load. On this oc­ca­sion, they are suf­fer­ing from the op­po­site prob­lem: a lack of matches un­der the belt, which makes them vul­ner­a­ble to cramp or worse when play goes into a third or even fourth hour. In Nor­rie’s case, it took him 3hr 59min to com­plete the win.

“Cam looked strong right up till the end,” said Judy Mur­ray, who was com­men­tat­ing on BBC Ra­dio Five Live. “Schwartz­man had the chance to close it out, but he was re­ally strug­gling with cramp and

Dig­ging deep: Cameron Nor­rie (right) hits a re­turn to Ar­gen­tine Diego Schwartz­man (above) dur­ing a gru­elling con­test you could tell from the way he was walk­ing with the straight legs and he was get­ting no power on his serve – not push­ing up at all. I said there would be upsets and a lot of in­juries at this US Open – cramp­ing is go­ing to hap­pen a lot.”

Nor­rie’s main feeling, as he came off the court, looked to be one of re­lief. “For me the ten­nis and the level wasn’t that great,” he told Ama­zon Prime. “But I had a re­ally good at­ti­tude through­out. I was lucky to get through that one, saved a cou­ple of match points at the end. It was a tough one.

“It was re­ally nice to have Jamie [Mur­ray] and Dom [In­glot] and all the Bri­tish guys up there watch­ing. Schwartz­man was get­ting a lit­tle bit up­set at them cheer­ing, but it was good to have that sup­port. I think the whole Bat­tle of the Brits thing, ev­ery­one was get­ting around that, so I think that helps a lot.”

Mur­ray’s ef­forts in stag­ing two exhibition events at the Na­tional Ten­nis Cen­tre can be said to have helped in this match. Both in­car­na­tions of the Bat­tle of the Brits were as feisty and com­pet­i­tive as un­of­fi­cial con­tests can be, and those sorts of pres­sure mo­ments are hard to repli­cate on the prac­tice court.

Later, 16-year-old sen­sa­tion Coco Gauff was elim­i­nated by 31st seed Anas­ta­sia Sev­as­tova 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. The de­feat, which was not al­ways pretty to watch, of­fered a re­minder that Gauff needs to add more so­lid­ity to her flair.

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