London | Norrie slips out in opener

Five Britons lined up at the start of this year’s Queen’s with Cameron Norrie leading the way on the opening day as the stars of the game arrive in London to make that major surface adjustment from clay to grass at the Cinch Championships. The remaining four Brits make their first appearance on Tuesday.

I'm happy with my attitude, the way I played out there, especially against a serve like that and I played really well in the first tie-break Cameron Norrie

Norrie, overtaken on Monday by Jack Draper as the national No.1, suffered another blow following his disappointing second round loss at the Nottingham Challenger last week, this time going out to the big serving Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7(9) 6-3 7-6(9) who, in the process, set a new record for aces served in a best-of-three set match with the 47 he hammered past the Brit.

Despite that setback, Norrie is confident his game will improve for he wasn’t overwhelmed on court by the power of the Canadian and showed snatches of the game which saw him make the title round in 2021 and on Monday, came close to claiming the victory which was basically snatched from him in the last few minutes.

After losing the first set on a tiebreak, Raonic remained calm breaking Norrie at the start of the second to then powered his way to claim the set and level the match.

In the decider the pair both showed doggedness as they matched each other by holding serve throughout and leaving it to a second tiebreak to decide which one would advance.

Again, Norrie hung on but this time Raonic was able to convert his third match point to face Taylor Fritz, the American seeded four, in round two.

While disappointed, Norrie had put up a sterling performance which turned on just a few points, unfortunately against him.

“It’s tough but I was honestly proud about my level,” the British No.2 said.

“I gave myself a lot of chances and I thought my concentration was great, I enjoyed it, but he was too good.

“I’m happy with my attitude, the way I played out there, especially against a serve like that and I played really well in the first tie-break.

“I’d like to have a few more matches before Wimbledon but it’s going to pay off eventually and I just need to keep going for it.

“At a match point I missed the backhand long by a little bit, I was maybe a bit too aggressive. In the past I maybe would’ve guided it and maybe won the match, but hopefully in the longer term those shots can pay off in even bigger matches.

“Hopefully my philosophy and skill will pay off longer term and I can play a bit more on instinct when it does come further in an even bigger tournament.”

In other action on Day One, Australia’s Jordan Thompson beat the seventh seeded Dane, Holger Rune, last year’s runner-up 4-6 7-6(4) 6-3 in an early upset.

Also, former Queen’s Club champion, Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov won the opening match of the day on Centre Court against France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-1 6-2.

Milos Raonic winds up to deliver another bazooka like serve

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)



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