Cameron Norrie slipped into the quarter finals of the at Lyon Open with a straight sets win over the wily Belgian veteran David Goffin but Sweden’s Mikael Ymer provided the drama by clashing violently with the umpire leading to his disqualification during his match with the French wild card Arthur Fils.
I was happy, I felt like I could have moved a little bit better, but it’s always a few nerves in the first match. I was able to control those in the first set, and I was down an early break in the second, but I was able to fight back Cameron Norrie
The British men’s No. 1, the second seed at the ATP 250 event, hasn’t had the best of results this year on clay failing to get past the last 16 of any events he has played.
But as defending champion, the British No.1 and world No.14 produced some impressive tennis to take out the experienced Goffin 6-3 6-4.
The 27-year-old trailed Goffin 1-3 in the second set before recovering to sweep through after 88-minutes for his 12th win at the event having previously reached the final in 2021 before collecting the title last year.
During the match he saved five of six break points he faced en route to claiming his 50th tour-level clay victory.
“It’s such a special tournament for me, winning my first clay 250 this time last year, and I really like this tournament, ” Norrie said following his win. “It’s pretty unique, in a cycling velodrome in the middle of a park, and it’s always the start of summer for me. I feel really good here… It’s good to be back and good to get a straight-sets win today.
“I was happy, I felt like I could have moved a little bit better, but it’s always a few nerves in the first match. I was able to control those in the first set, and I was down an early break in the second, but I was able to fight back.”
Norrie’s next opponent is Sebastian Baez of Argentina who came from a set and a break down to defeat his countryman Pedro Cahchin 3-6,7-5 6-2.
The drama however, came later in the day when Ymer faced Fils in round two when the Swede, world ranked 53, smashed his racket on the umpire’s chair following a heated altercation with Rogerio Santos who was officiating in it at the time!
It all kicked off with the match at 5-all and a Fils shot was called ‘in’ which Ymer hotly disputed declaring it was actually wide and was incensed when Santos refused to climb down to look at the mark.
“Show me the mark then. Show me the mark,” Ymer yelled. “You thought it clearly bounced on the line? Then show me the mark on the line.
“You saw it clearly bounce on the line, then show me the mark on the line!
Ymer reluctantly accepted that decision and continued play before he was broken by Fils and to release his frustrations and anger, he destroyed his racket against the foot of the umpire’s chair, an unacceptable action which led to his immediate disqualification and handing Fills a quarter final place.
Later Ymer commented: “I’ve never witnessed that a ref says ‘I’m not going to go down and check the mark.’ It doesn’t happen.”
In other action, third seed Tommy Paul claimed a three-set triumph on Wednesday when he resumed his match with home favourite Gregoire Barrerre which stood at 2-2 in the third set having been held overnight when light faded.
It didn’t take long for the American to finish it all off 7-6(6) 4-6 6-3 having saved 11 of 13 break points he faced. He will next take on his fellow American Brandon Nakashima.
In the final match of the day, top seed Felix Auger Aliassime notched his first clay-court win of the year by defeating Pablo Llamar Ruiz, a Spanish qualifier, 7-5 6-2. The Canadian, who reached the final in Lyon in 2019, converted four of his seven break points to claim a confidence-boosting 88-minute victory.
“It’s a good one. It’s a good one considering that I haven’t played a lot of matches on clay lately,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I haven’t won a lot of matches overall, so happy to get it done overall. You start the day against any opponent and you don’t know what can happen, so I was happy I was able to win in straight sets, to get into the tournament and hopefully I’ll go far this week.”
He faces Fils next.