Cameron Norrie no doubt breathed a sigh of relief when he finally closed out his semi-final clash against the fast-rising Danish star Holger Rune to reach the title round of the Lyon Open in the South of France.
It is never easy to close a match. I had a break in the second and then gifted a couple easy ones. I was pretty mad inside, but I managed to stay composed Cameron Norrie
Seeded at the top of the draw, the British No.1 came through a tough period which saw the 19-year-old come back from a set and 2-4 down to force a decider where Norrie eventually prevailed 6-2 5-7 6-4 after two-hours and three-minutes in what were very windy conditions which regularly raised clouds of clay dust.
“It is never easy to close a match. I had a break in the second and then gifted a couple easy ones. I was pretty mad inside, but I managed to stay composed,” Norrie said in his on-court interview. “I was telling myself to stay positive and I managed to play the two best games of the match in the last two games. It is nice to get over the line when the nerves are there, and you want to be in the final again.”
Norrie, who eliminated two Argentinians, Francisco Cerundolo and Sebastian Baez earlier this week, is poised to win his first Lyon title having lost out to Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year’s final. Success on Saturday would give him his second title of the year having won in Delray Beach last February but lost to Rafa Nadal in the Acapulco final.
Success would also provide the 26-year-old world No.11 with his first title on clay and increase his title wins to four.
Norrie faces a fellow lefty, the unseeded Slovak Alex Molcan who downed Australian Alex de Minaur 7-6(2) 6-2 in one-hour and 48-minutes to reach his third Tour final.
“It was very tight. I survived in the first set and, in the tie-break, he helped me with some misses, which helped me a lot to win the first set,” Molcan admitted. “In the second set I was playing solid and didn’t make many mistakes. I am really happy.”
Molcan has yet to drop a set in Lyon and now holds a 9-2 tour-level record on clay in 2022. The 24-year-old, who is up to No. 39 in world terms, lost to Belgium’s David Goffin in last month’s Marrakech championship match, has yet to win a title.