Both Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper were in quarter final action at the Lyons Open and wins for both would have meant an-all British semi-final with the guarantee of a Brit in the title round for a third successive year.
It's the perfect kind of match I need before the French Open to get a lot of long points in the legs, running a lot and having to defend a lot Cameron Norrie
Ironically, standing in their way were two players from Argentina with similar hopes – and All-Argentine semi guaranteeing their nation a place in the final for the first time.
Unfortunately, fate ruined their respective hopes with Francisco Cerundollo defeating Draper 4-6 6-4 6-3 after two-hours and 24-minutes and Norrie taking down Sebastian Baez 6-2 2-6 6-1 in one-hour and 51-minutes.
Both matches were hard fought affairs with Norrie, the second seed and defending champion, recovering from a brief loss of focus in the second set to gain his place in the semi for a second year at the expense of Baez.
“I tried to reset and come out with a lot of energy,” Norrie said following his victory.
“It was a solid match,” the British No.1 added. “It’s the perfect kind of match I need before the French Open to get a lot of long points in the legs, running a lot and having to defend a lot.”
The 27-year-old now faces fourth seed Cerundolo, who recovered from a set and a break down against Draper and his place in the last four.
For Norrie it was another successful day on the Lyon clay courts at the Parc de la Tete d’Or Velodrome where he has now clocked up 13 wins in 14 matches having made the final in 2021 and won the title in 2022.
Like last year, Norrie had to fight his way past the 22-year-old from Buenos Aires despite making a very quick start to proceedings by storming into a 3-0 lead and establishing overall control of the match.
That proved short lived as Baez struck back by breaking the Brit in the opening game of the second set and again in the fifth as he levelled despite the unfortunate distraction of a nose-bleed.
The pendulum then swung back to Norrie, world-ranked 14, as he re-established control dropping just the one game as he swept through the decider to reach the last four for a fourth time.
Preceding Norrie’s match, Draper opened up the day’s play and looked set to storm into the semis when he broke Cerundolo to claim the first set with some excellent serving.
But the fourth-seeded Argentinian struck back in the second as the match opened up, Cerundolo breaking twice and Draper once to level and force a decider.
With Draper now showing signs of fatigue having only played two matches in Lyon since Monte Carlo, Cerundolo took control of the match saving the only break point he faced and clinching one of the six he earned to progress to the semi-finals.
Also through to the last four are Arthur Fils and Brandon Nakashima who will now contest that final place in the top half of the draw.
Fils, a French wild card entry, reached the semis having now benefitted twice having, made the quarter finals when his opponent Mikael Ymer was disqualified for un-sportsman-like behaviour, and the last four when his opponent, the top seeded Canadian, Felix Auger Aliassime, conceded a walkover.
Meanwhile Nakashima overcame his American compatriot Tommy Paul, the third seed, 6-3 7-6(4).
In Geneva, the last four line-up reads as follows: Nicolas Jarry, who upset the top seeded Casper Ruud 3-6 7-6(5) 7-5 versus Alexander Zverev (3) while Grigor Dimitrov (4) faces Taylor Fritz (2).