Cameron Norrie strode into the quarter finals of the Indian Wells Masters by dismissing Andrey Rublev with a masterclass performance which had the Russian sixth seed frustrated from the opening moments and, despite a flurry towards the end of the 71-minute contest, completely disillusioned.
I'm feeling the ball well, and I think maybe he was upset about the conditions. It was a little bit overcast today and a bit colder, so it was really tough to finish points. Cameron Norrie
Unfortunately, Jack Draper’s encounter with Carlos Alcaraz ended prematurely with the young Brit retiring in the second set after picking up an injury on his left side.
But it was Norrie’s performance which really caught the eye.as he swept aside Rublev 6-2 6-4.
The 10th seeded Norrie started positively, breaking his higher placed opponent in the first game but then his own serve showed some vulnerability and he handed back that break with a double fault.
However, that proved to be just a blip for Norrie responded by breaking back immediately leading to Rublev starting to show his frustrations by berating himself every time he committed an error.
Norrie pressed him throughout and broke him five times for his victory and though he dropped his serve when poised to take it at 5-2, he did serve it out two games later to love.
“Andrey is not an easy guy to beat, so I was really pleased to come through in straight sets,” said the 27-year-old, who in 2021 becamethe first Brit to win the Indian Wells title.
“Off the ground I was rock solid. It was a little cooler today, so I felt like I had more time on the ball. I played well in the big moments.
“It gave me a lot of confidence to see that down the other end,” Norrie told BBC Sport when asked about Rublev’s antics. “I played a solid first game to break and he was not happy, and I was like ‘it could be my day today’.
“I’m feeling the ball well, and I think maybe he was upset about the conditions. It was a little bit overcast today and a bit colder, so it was really tough to finish points.”
The win was his eighth victory on the trot and included the Rio Open title where he beat Alcaraz in the final. It will also his third consecutive quarter final appearance at Indian Wells.
Up next for Norrie is Frances Tiafoe who comfortably beat the Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo 6-4 6-4.
Later that day, it was Draper’s turn to try and make the last eight and it wasn’t going to be easy for the 21-year-old Londoner.
As expected it was the top seeded 19-year-old from Murcia, who progressed after Draper was forced to retire after 46-minute in their fourth round match, with a right side injury when 2-0 down to the Spaniard, having lost the first set 6-2.
“This is not the way anybody wants to win a match, because something is wrong,” Alcaraz commented. “All I can say is I hope to see him get well soon.”
Alcaraz, who became the youngest men’s world number one ever last year after his precocious US Open triumph, is set to return to that spot should he end the week as champion having lost that place when he was side-lined with various injuries for four months.
Alcaraz faces Felix Auger Aliassime for a place in the semis, the Canadian having battled past America’s Tommy Paul over two-hours and 46-minutes late into the night.
Elsewhere, Daniil Medvedev overcame German Alexander Zverev in an epic three-set, three hour, 17-minute match, with the Russian winning 6-7(5) 7-6(5) 7-5 to reach the quarter finals.
Medvedev will face Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the last eight, the Spaniard having ousted another Chilean qualifier, Cristian Garin, 6-3 6-4.
Finally, the defending champion Taylor Fritz, beat Marton Fucsovics of Humgary, 6-4 6-3 and will meet Jannik Sinner in his quarter final match, the Italian having brought Stan Wawrinka’s run to an end 6-1 6-4.