Cameron Norrie is best remembered for his heroic win against world No.23 Roberto Bautista-Agut in a fiery Davis Cup clash with Spain in Marbella last February. You could say he relished playing in front of a hostile crowd and is looking forward to facing Lucas Pouille, the French No.1 and 15th seed, in the next round after successfully negotiating his way past the German world No.43 Peter Gojowczyk, who retired injured with the British No.3 6-1 2-0 ahead.
I outplayed him throughout. It was unfortunate for him to pick up an injury. I would have loved to keep playing, but I’ll take it. The good thing is I’ll be feeling fresh today Cameron Norrie
The rise of Norrie has been remarkable. A year ago he had just turned professional and was playing the Surbiton Challenger. He had never played on clay until February’s Davis Cup tie, and last week made the semi-finals of Lyon Open losing to Gilles Simon 6-1 7-6(6) to break into the top 100.
Now ranked 85 having recorded only his second win in four Grand Slams he said looking ahead to his match with Pouille: “I love being the underdog. All the pressure is on him.
“It’s going to be a battle and hopefully I can come out on top. It’s going to be a good challenge.
“Think(ing) about where I was this time last year, I’m psyched to be ranked 85 in the world (and) in the second round of the French Open, that’s for sure.
“But the thing about tennis, you always want more. You get to 85 and you want to be top 50.”
Though this second win was once again due to a retirement, as was his victory over Dimitri Tursonov at the US Open last year, Norrie had dominated Gojowczyk, a finalist in Geneva last week – in the early stages of the match, hitting powerfully and accurately.
But he was adamant that he would have won anyway, irrespective of the retirement stating “That that was the best tennis I have played in my life. I was in the zone and not making any unforced errors. I played very, very high level throughout the match.
“I outplayed him throughout. It was unfortunate for him to pick up an injury. I would have loved to keep playing, but I’ll take it. The good thing is I’ll be feeling fresh today.
“He was hitting the ball big and hitting well, it didn’t look like anything was bothering him too much,” he added. “I was playing great. I was in the zone. I was serving really well. That was the best tennis of my life.
“I wrong-footed him a couple times. If he had been winning that match, there’s no chance he’d have retired.”
There was also success for Heather Watson to make up for the disappointment of Jo Konta on the opening day.
The British No.2 comfortably beat Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin 6-3 6-0 in 62-minutes slamming down 10 aces. The only time nerves played a part was in the final game when she was serving for the victory, eventually closing it out on her fifth match-point. The start of the rin didn’t help, either!
The win was a welcome return to form for the Briton, who had lost nine of her ten previous matches in a dismal run up to Paris. She hadn’t even won a set since February until she secured a victory over Kateryna Bondarenko in Nuremberg last week.
She said: “I was really pleased to get through. I have been playing well, believe it or not. Once I got settled last night I played really well. I had a slight injury recently which allowed me to step back and re-charge.
“There has been this losing streak, but I had not even thought about it until people started talking about it.”