By Jake Davies

  • Cameron Norrie vs Malek Jaziri
ATLANTA, USA – Cameron Norrie now moves onto the US hard courts as he looks for a successful week in Atlanta to start his campaign.

 

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Cameron Norrie vs Malek Jaziri H2H: Norrie leads 1-0

A lot has happened for the British No.2 Cameron Norrie inside the last twelve months. Breaking into the Top-100, getting a huge scalp on his Davis Cup debut, winning his first Grand Slam main draw match at the US Open last year. In most of those situations, Norrie has found himself playing the role of the underdog, winning matches when his back is against the wall and when few people give him a chance to really come out on the winning end, but in this US Hard-court swing, Norrie will now be playing many more matches where there will be greater expectation weighing on his shoulders and there will be more matches where the Brit will be fancied to do a lot of damage in these match-ups.

In many ways it is interesting to see how high Norrie can really go. At one point we were looking at a player on the outside looking in on Grand Slam main draws, but now he is sitting well inside the World’s Top-80 with perhaps a target of maybe breaking into the Top-50 at the conclusion of the year. Big match-wins and consistent performances over a promising hard-court swing is something that can really benefit Norrie’s short term future and maybe even help him long term as well.

He starts his hard-court campaign in Atlanta before playing a pretty heavy schedule to hopefully build up his matchplay and match confidence over the next month or so, but he has been drawn a very dangerous competitor in his opening round match as he takes on the talented ball-striker Malek Jaziri.

Jaziri’s level has always been hard to predict. He has the ability to time his shots perfectly, while maintaining the aggression, but he has a tendency to be very streaky, who can go off the boil as quickly as he is inspired in a single tennis match. Norrie has to be prepared to expect the unexpected and even when Jaziri is mentally fading from the task at hand, to not count the Tunisian out at any given moment.

Jaziri is capable of playing good ball on these hard courts and is playing some of the better tennis of his career at the age of 34 and that was evident in him gaining a first Top-10 win of his career earlier this year when he beat Grigor Dimitrov in a memorable match in Dubai. The key for Norrie is to accept that some of the rallies will not be in his hands, but to keep a steady level and mentally stay engaged for the whole match, wait for the opportunity to present itself and take the opportunities when they come his way.

Norrie has beaten Jaziri in the past, getting a victory on the grass courts of the Surbiton challenger, but this will be their first ever meeting at tour-level.

Prediction: Jaziri in three sets.

 

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