The Herald on Sunday
Norrie delighted to book final spot at Queen’s
CAMERON NORRIE joined British tennis r o y al t y at Queen’s Club after reaching the final of the cinch Championships.
The 25-year-old is one match away from claiming a first ATP title after a 7-5, 6-3, semi-final victory over Canadian second seed Denis Shapovalov.
The only other Britons to reach the Queen’s final in the last 40 years are Tim Henman and Andy Murray, and Murray remains the only one to lift the title since the Second World War.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” confessed Norrie. “I think I played very, very good today and I’m so pleased to get into the final.
“I can’t really describe it, it’s nice to get over the line. It’s a huge tournament for me. I couldn’t be more pleased with myself.”
The British No.2 made a nervy start as two double faults and two unforced errors gifted Shapovalov a break of serve in the opening game.
But Norrie retrieved the break emphatically to love and then took a tight first set with a stunning backhand down the line which left Shapovalov on his backside.
Shapovalov, who had to finish his rain-interrupted quarterfinal against American Frances Tiafoe earlier in the day, needed treatment on his left leg early in the second.
The world No.14 was powerless to stop Norrie claiming another notable scalp in a what has been a stunning season – he has now won 29 matches this year, more than any other player on the Tour except for Russia’s Andrey Rublev.
Standing in Norrie’s way today will be top seed Matteo Berrettini, the big-serving world No.9 who accounted for Murray and Dan Evans last week.
The Italian has yet to drop a set on his Queen’s debut and has won his last 30 service games, having swept aside Australian Alex De Minaur 6-4, 6-4, in the first semi-final.
“I’ve watched him throughout the week, he has a huge serve, he’s one of the best players on the tour at the moment,” added Norrie. “I might have a chat with Evo and Andy and see if they have any tips. I saw him play earlier today and he had a really good day. It’s not going to be easy.”
Berrettini said: “I have one more step but making the final is a great achievement for the history of this tournament. I had to play my best tennis.
“The mentality is that I always think I can win the game. Alex had some break points, but I know I have a great weapon.”
Norrie faces a busy day today with a doubles semi-final to finish – and potentially then another final to play – alongside partner De Minaur. Their last-four clash against Reilly Opelka and John Peers was suspended with the duo a set down and at 2-2 in the second.
“It’s going to be an interesting day,” Norrie added. “Obviously the big focus is on the singles, to take care of that and then, yeah, I’ll just enjoy the doubles with Alex.
“Hopefully I’ll go all the way and do it all, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be a little bit tired if I manage to play all eight sets. It will be a tough ask to win them all.”
At the Birmingham Classic, British No.2 Heather Watson missed out on a place in the final at the Viking Classic when she was beaten in straight sets by second seed Ons Jabeur.
Watson was forced to play twice in one day after rain on Friday saw her quarter-final against third seed Donna Vekic carried into the weekend.
She impressed in her first outing as she prevailed 6-4, 6-2, against the Croatian to become the first home semi-finalist of the event since Jo Durie in 1992. But that was as far as she went as Tunisia’s Jabeur, the world No.24, won their lastfour encounter 6-3, 6-3.
Jabeur, who earlier beat Anastasia Potapova in her quarter-final, will now face Russian fourth seed Daria Kasatkina, who overcame Coco Vandeweghe of the United States in her semi-final 6-2, 6-4.