In what proved a remarkable turn-around, Cameron Norrie beat Taro Daniel 6-7(5) 7-5 6-2 and became one of the first players to reach the last 16 at the Indian Wells Masters on Sunday.
I should have won that first set. [I had] lots of chances and I think it carried over a bit into the second set. But I was able to really play point for point and then really come back and play some of my best tennis. Cameron Norrie
The Briton, seeded 10 and a former IW champion, was always favourite to progress past the Japanese qualifier, so it was surprising to see him drop the first set and then fall 1-4 behind in the second, providing the 30-year-old American born Japanese player hope of scoring a major upset.
However, the British No.1, world ranked 12, is well known for his resilience and his ability to grind out his wins and those qualities were now called on to come to the rescue of his campaign in the California sunshine.
It became obvious from the start it wasn’t going to be an easy passage as neither player could break free of the other until the tie-break decided the first set in Daniel’s favour.
Having established a lead, Daniel maintained his momentum and quickly moved 3-0 up with a break and looked set to run away with the match for his second career title.
Norrie, however, pulled off a break of his own to battle back to 4-3 and then level at 4-4 s he slowly but surely pulled the rampant Japanese player back and then pushed on to snatch the second set and level the match.
In the decider Norrie settled and romped through to claim his allotted place in the fourth round after two-hours and 41-minutes.
“I’m happy to be riding the wave right now but I still have a lot of things to work on,” said Norrie who now has 20 wins to his credit this season and upset top seed Carlos Alcaraz to win the fifth title of his career at the Rio Open last month.
“It was not the prettiest of matches today, but I’ll take it,” Norrie added.
“I should have won that first set. [I had] lots of chances and I think it carried over a bit into the second set.
“But I was able to really play point for point and then really come back and play some of my best tennis.”
Norrie will face sixth seed Andrey Rublev in the next round after the Russian dismissed Frenchman Ugo Humbert 7-5 6-3.
In another early match, third seed Casper Ruud of Norway suffered a shock 6-4 7-6(2) loss to Cristian Garin of Chile as he slumped out of the tournament, continuing to struggle with results this season.
There were slight worries for the fifth seed Daniil Medvedev and his next opponent, Alexander Zverev, seeded 12, as both were taken to three sets before progressing to what could be an exciting fourth round match between two contemporary players. Medvedev beat his Russian compatriot Ilya Ivashka 6-2 3-6 6-1 while Germany’s Zverev had a bigger battle with Finn Emil Ruusuvuori before scoring his 7-5 1-6 7-5 win.
Also through to the fourth round are American Frances Tiafoe(14), the qualifier from Chile Alejandro Tabilo, and Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina (23).