Melbourne | Norrie makes fourth round as does Zverev, Medvedev and Borges.

Cameron Norrie, Britain’s only contender in either singles at this year’s Australian Open, has surpassed his previous best in Melbourne by reaching the fourth round for the first time in what is his sixth attempt.

I just kept to a really good level during the match and I stuck to my game plan and I got through. Cameron Norrie

The British No1 was at his best to overcome the 11th seed from Norway, Casper Ruud, 6-4 6-7(7) 6-4 6-3 to progress to the last 16 where Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the sixth seed, awaits.

Norrie, who had never beaten Ruud in their previous three matches in which he won just one set, this time produced a near-flawless performance, to dominate play, especially at crucial points.

“I had to play really brave,” Norrie admitted later.

“I almost won that second set, but Casper played well. I did not let it bother me. It was a good mental performance to come out with a lot of energy in the third set. I just kept to a really good level during the match and I stuck to my game plan and I got through.”

Norrie hit 62 winners and won 41 points at the net in a hugely impressive, front-foot performance and said afterwards that he has been working on becoming more aggressive.

“I’ve been working hard in the off season to be a little more aggressive and managed to do that,” Norrie added.

At the start of the fortnight, British fans were concerned that the wrist problem he picked up prior to Melbourne would hinder his progress but that has not proved to be the case.

Having come through two tricky rounds, he showed some excellent discipline in the third converting the only break point he fashioned in the first set and fended off five against him, including one while he was serving for the set.

Norrie continued to excel in the big moments at the start of the next, defending three break points at 0-40 in the fourth game to keep it on serve. However, the Brit missed a set point in the tie-break and when Rudd got the chance to level the match, he did.

However, the Brit responded positively and didn’t let that setback affect him for he regrouped despite Ruud breaking him for 3-2, hitting back immediately to the discomfort of his opponent and created a set point at 5-4 which he promptly converted.

Surprisingly perhaps, but the fight seemed to have gone out of the Norwegian and, although he did force a break point at 2-4, Norrie again had the answer.

Speaking about the atmosphere on John Cain Arena, Norrie added: “There was all sorts of nicknames out there. Come on Noz-dog, Noz, all things like that. It was good stuff. I could tell you guys had had a few drinks on a Saturday afternoon – really good atmosphere!”

As mentioned earlier, Norrie will face Zverev in the last 16 on Monday after the German overcame unseeded American teenager Alex Michelsen, winning 6-2 7-6(4) 6-2.

Meanwhile Daniil Medvedev, twice a Melbourne finalist, made the most of an error strewn performance from Felix Auger Aliassime to reach the second week as well.

The Russian, seeded three, dominated throughout and will face Nuno Borge of Portugal, a surprise victor over Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in what is only his second appearance at Melbourne.

Medvedev won 6-3 6-4 6-3 while Borges battled through 6-7(3) 6-4 6-2 7-6(6).

“It was tough, especially after the last match I had,” began Medvedev in his on-court interview and referring to the five-set battle he had with Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori which ended at 4am!

“I am happy to play to a good level. It was tough for me to run so I always tried to give him a tough shot to not have to run too much.

“Finally in the third set, I managed to pull out some good shots. So I am happy about my game and I am looking forward to what’s next.”


Daniil Medvedev cruises through

(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)




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