By Ros Satar

  • Cameron Norrie def. Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-2
  • Norrie v Alexander Zverev [2] | H2H: Norrie leads 2-0
  • Donna Vekic def. Johanna Konta 6-3 7-5
ACAPULCO, MEXICO – It was mixed fortunes for the Brits in Acapulco with Cameron Norrie advancing to a first ATP Tour 500 semi-final, but Johanna Konta just falling short to Donna Vekic.

 

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Cameron Norrie def. Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-2

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In a battle of the college boys, British No. 2 Cameron Norrie eased pass Mackenzie McDonald to make his first ATP Tour 500 level semi-final.

Their first exchanges saw them both testing the waters with break point chances a-plenty but no joy until Norrie turned up the pace, breaking to love to take an early lead in the first set. The rest of the set played out very competitively, before Norrie delivered another break for the first set.

With only a few spots in the rankings separating the pair, the start to the second set was also pretty tight, with McDonald pulling up the first break point chances before Norrie reacted with two straight breaks of the McDonald serve to book a spot in the semi-final.

 

 

Norrie v Alexander Zverev [2] | H2H: Norrie leads 2-0

Alexander Zverev in the final of the ATP Mutua Madrid Open, 2018

Alexander Zverev in the final of the ATP Mutua Madrid Open, 2018 | (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

Now, before we all get way too excited about the head to head, Norrie’s wins over Alexander Zverev came all the back in 2013 and 2014 (Futures and Challenger tournament respectively). A lot has changed for both players – while Norrie has been building up his momentum over the last year, and has been looking impressive, Zverev’s rise to fame culminated in him claiming the ATP Finals crown while he still searches for the elusive form required to claim a maiden Grand Slam.

This will be a good test for Norrie though. He has had plenty of experience playing on the main stages of tournaments now, so this is not something that has ever fazed him in the slightest – perhaps a throwback to the college experience.

Things for Norrie to focus on will be to try and get on the end of the very capable Zverev serve and to try and nullify arguably his best shot – his backhand. Zverev can also send down pretty potent second serves, and for such a big unit, he has decent hands at the net and has worked hard on his movement and fitness, though he might joke he still looks like a walking asparagus!

Norrie will try and make use of a much improved forehand and his backhand has often looked like his favoured side, but may suffer on the serving front. Do not underestimate what confidence brings with a series of solid wins.

The Brit has come through some tough match-ups of late, and picked off some good wins against players he had never beaten previously. Zverev has eased through this draw in his first ATP tournament since another earlier-than-expected Slam demise, and with a couple of Davis Cup wins to boot.

Zverev has a lot more experience at this level, but we can expect Norrie to make him earn a spot in the final.

Prediction: Zverev in three sets.

 

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Donna Vekic def. Johanna Konta 6-3 7-5

Johanna Konta in the first round of the Western & Southern Open, WTA Cincinnati 2018

Johanna Konta in the first round of the Western & Southern Open, WTA Cincinnati 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

On the women’s side, there was less good news for British No. 1 Johanna Konta, who was edged out of Acapulco by Donna Vekic. It looked like it was going to be another quick start for the Brit as she broke the Croatian on the opening game, but was immediately pegged back. Vekic continued to apply pressure, making good on a third chance to break the Konta serve to nudge ahead at the end of the set, before closing out a lead.

Vekic started the brighter in the second set, breaking first but Konta battled hard to get back on level terms before breaking again for a 4-2 lead. The pair traded breaks for the next four games before Vekic eased ahead for a 6-4 lead, serving out her spot, and levelling the head to head on what has become quite an intriguing rivalry.

Konta will next play at Indian Wells starting 7 March. Norrie and Zverev are scheduled on Cancha Central, not before 6pm (Saturday midnight, GMT).

 

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