Tennis

Cincinnati | Norrie tops Alcaraz

Cameron Norrie took out his third 19-year-old at the Western & Southern Open to claim a place in the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 event being played out in Cincinnati.

I just had to try to put the ball in awkward positions in the court. I managed to serve well; I improved a lot on my previous matches. Cameron Norrie

On Friday, the British No.1 added Carlos Alcaraz to his list of beaten teenagers at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, having earlier in the week dispatched Dane Holger Rune and the American wildcard Ben Shelton as well as his 35-year-old compatriot, Andy Murray.

Norrie, the world No,11, secured a 7-6(4) 6-7(4) 6-4 victory over the third seeded world No.4 staving a strong comeback from the young Spaniard who fought back from 1-4 down in the second set to force a decider and then go 3-1 up in the third.

Apart from those hitches, Norrie remained focused just concentrating on each point as it came.

“That was unbelievable,” Norrie said after the three-hour thriller. “Credit to Carlos. I was up a set and a break, 4-1, and I kind of lost a little bit of vision. I was thinking a little bit too much about the finish line rather than focussing on how I was winning points and I honestly got a little bit tight, and he raised his level, didn’t give me anything.”

Norrie, who during lockdown concentrated on becoming one of the fittest players on the Tour, certainly proved his point by outlasting an opponent who has taken the professional game by storm and progress to the last four at a Masters event for the second time this season.

Cameron Norrie is congratulated by Carlos Alcaraz

“I just wanted to hang tough with him and I think the only place I had him better was the legs and the physicality,” he continued. “So, I was just trying to make every rally as physical as I could and make it tough for him to finish points.”

It was also Norrie’s first win over Alcatraz in four meetings.

“It’s tough because he can take the racket completely out of your hand,” Norrie, who hit 25 winners and made 30 unforced errors, revealed. “When he’s dictating with the forehand it’s really tough and you’re running a lot. I just had to try to put the ball in awkward positions in the court. I managed to serve well; I improved a lot on my previous matches.”

Norrie, reeling somewhat at the start of the third set as Alcaraz’s comeback captured the crowd’s imagination, had to regroup but it took him a few games.

After saving a break point in his opening service game, he fell behind 1-3 but immediately drew back level on serve and never faced another break point again with Alcaraz faltering in the ninth game to give the Brit the decisive break and go on to claim the victory.

The Briton, who saved 11 of the 13 break points against him in the match, will now move up two spots in world ranking terms to ninth, will face Bornia Coric in Saturday’s semi-finals after the Croatian’s 6-4 6-4 win against Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime, the world No.9.

Daniil Medvedev serves his way out of trouble

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Daniil Medvedev, the world No.1, also successfully progressed into the last four by beating Americas Taylor Fritz 7-6(1) 6-1 as he hones his game for the defence of his US Open title starting in ten days time.

Whilst Medvedev came through in straight sets and is yet to drop one this week, he struggled against Fritz in the first, relying on his serve to get him out of trouble as well as some stubborn defensive play.

Medvedev takes on third seed and rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final, the Greek having survived a scare from the big serving American John Isner to go through 7-6(5) 5-7 6-3.

“The second set was much better than the first,” Medvedev said after his match. “Taylor is a great player, from the baseline he didn’t give you much space.

“He was hitting the ball strong, making a lot of good points.

“But I’m happy with my level. If I can continue play this way and raise my level during matches, I can beat anybody.”

Like Medvedev, Tsitsipas’ serve kept him contention and then some good fortune helped him as rain interrupted play in the tie-breaker to allows him to reassess his game plan.

On their return Tstsipas claimed the first set but a late break handed the initiative to Isner in the second which allowed him to level but a solitary break in the Greek’s favour in the third was enough for the fourth seed to reach his allotted place in the draw.

“It’s never easy to play him, due to all his variations of play,” Tsitsipas commented after his win. “The most important thing is to stay patient.

“The match came down to a few points. I was able to hang in there and make one more ball — he didn’t give me a lot to work with.”

Medvedev and Tsitsipas will be meeting for a 10th time on Tour having notched up a fiery, and at times a very personal rivalry, with Tsitsipas no doubt keen to inflict only his third defeat on the Muscovite, having won two of their last four clashes.

Tsitsipas added: “Against Medvedev, I need to be concentrated and approach my game in a precise manner.

“I will let my tennis do the talking.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas:: “I will let my tennis do the talking.”

Frey/TPN/Getty Images

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