Up until this year’s Wimbledon six weeks ago, Cameron Norrie was still struggling to make his first appearance in the second week of a Grand Slam. Sometimes he faced brutal encounters with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the third round, while other times real opportunities slipped past him.
These days he makes it look easy. On Saturday afternoon, Norrie followed his breakthrough in SW19 by progressing to the fourth round of the US Open for the first time.
With Norrie’s composure in sharp contrast to Holger Rune’s temper, Norrie picked up a 7-5, 6-4, 6-1 win over the 28th seed to advance. After three rounds, Norrie still hasn’t lost a set. “My goal today was to hit two hours and then we start the game from there. Literally when it struck two hours I broke to take a 2-1 lead in set number three, pointing at Facu [Lugones, his coach] and I thought, ‘All right, now the game begins.’ He seemed to be dying a bit,” said Norrie, who won in two hours and 12 minutes.
When the match fell off him, 19-year-old Rune was pinned down by Norrie. With Norrie tied 5-4 in the second set, he kept complaining to the referee that Norrie was running down the 25-second service clock by catching his toss on serve, and he suggested this was done on purpose. “He does it every time and then I have to stop. Every time,” he said.
After that, Rune took a less accusatory tone, admitting that he didn’t think it was on purpose. “I’ve played against him before and he’s done the same every game. Maybe it’s a sign of a close game and he’s nervous,” he said. “There wasn’t much wind today – you can’t judge that. That’s how he does it. He serves well and plays well, so all the credit goes to him.”
Norrie stayed composed despite Rune’s protests, holding serve for the second set through a long game of deuce and winning seven of the last eight games. He later shrugged off Rune’s complaints, explaining that he didn’t catch his throw on purpose. “I stayed a lot calmer than him in a lot of the big moments of the game,” he said.
Norrie goes into round four with a real shot at another deep Grand Slam run. He has established himself as a serial winner, his 44 wins this year put him in third place for match wins on the ATP this year. He will face an even bigger challenge in Monday’s fourth round against Andrey Rublev, the ninth seed who edged Denis Shapovalov 6-4 2-6 7-6(3) 4-6 7-6 (7th). ) survived.
After a record four British men reached the third round of the US Open, Norrie is the only player to advance to the fourth round. 15th seed Marin Cilic ousted 20th seed Dan Evans 7-6 (11) 6-7 (3) 6-2 7-5 in three hours and 59 minutes.
Evans had ample chances in an extremely tight 82-minute opening set, leading 6-4 in the tiebreak and holding three set points before Cilic won the tiebreak. Although Evans leveled the match in one set, the 2014 US Open champion overpowered Evans in four tough sets to advance to the fourth round.