By Ros Satar
- Cameron Norrie def. Alexei Popyrin 7-5 6-4
- Norrie faces Taylor Fritz in the semi-final
ATLANTA, USA – Cameron Norrie edged Alexei Popyrin for a spot in his second straight Atlanta semi-final, where he will face Taylor Fritz.
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Cameron Norrie def. Alexei Popyrin 7-5 6-4
Coming into Atlanta defending his semi-final points, Cameron Norrie has had a decent draw, and a few challenges. He went the distance with Jordan Thompson, and there were a couple of times when Alexei Popyrin, pushed him too. Twice the Aussie had Norrie under pressure with breakpoints and twice Norrie pulled it back to hold his serve.
Norrie was certainly made to work for his break in the first set, finally converting on his fourth try before serving out the first set. The second set was a lot more edgy, trading breaks at the start and a few games later, before Norrie finally got hold of the deciding break before closing out the match.
As reported in ATPTour.com, Norrie was looking forward to another crack at a spot in the Atlanta final:
“I’m pumped to get through that. It wasn’t easy because he’s young, up-and-coming and talented. It’s another semi-final now, so I’m just going to look to keep my level and keep pushing for more.”
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Norrie v Taylor Fritz  | H2H tied at 1-1
This will be Norrie’s third semi-final this season, but he will be against the hard-hitting Taylor Fritz, who won his maiden title this year and has looked to be finally delivering on his potential.
He is a match shy than Norrie, thanks to his bye into the second round, but has looked in impressive form with straight sets wins on his way into the semi-final.
Talking to ATPTour.com, Fritz said: “I’ve been playing really well. I had an ankle injury that took effect in [February] and was bugging me until the start of the clay-court season. I put in a lot of work as soon as my ankle allowed me to and I’ve been playing so well since then. The only losses I’ve had lately are to quality players who are playing great tennis. I couldn’t be happier.”
He will actually be playing is doubles partner from this week, as the pair had teamed up to get more hard court matches under their belt. They have played each other twice this year, splitting the wins.
By reaching the semi-final, Norrie ought to be able to leap-frog Dan Evans and retain his British No. 2 spot. He will need to be sharp in his own service games and try hard to get into Fritz’s service games. The American has been banging down aces with ease this week with a dominant serve and he can back up that more than capable serve with sharp angle cross-court shots and is solid on both wings. He is more than a big serve and has some good variety, and Norrie can do a lot of things very capably, and knows he has the game to beat Fritz, but this will be a tough task.
Fritz at the moment looks the stronger and maybe even fresher of the two, but this will have been a splendid start for Norrie in his US campaign.
Prediction: Fritz in three sets.
Norrie and Fritz are scheduled on Stadium Court, not before 7pm (Midnight, BST).
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