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Putintseva pushes on in Portoroz

At the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz tournament in Slovenia, 4th seed Sorana Cirstea, a recent Emma Raducanu conquest, was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-1 by Italy’s Jasmine Paolini in their last 8 meeting.

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Two WTA 250 tournaments are taking place this week, in Luxembourg where Belinda Bencic leads the field indoors on hard courts, and at Portoroz where top seed Petra Martic fell at the first hurdle.

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And so it begins…

Who reading this, even those who may not have affection for or affiliation with the game of tennis, could have failed to be mesmerised by the recent Raducanu journey, which concluded with her becoming the first ever qualifier to win one of the game’s primary sporting...
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Norrie and Edmund get off to great starts

It was an impressive albeit nerve-wracking day for British supporters following their own in the eerie silence of the Flushing Meadow concrete complex which some players on the opening day, are finding stressful

The first two sets I was rushing everything, going for too much. I was making too many errors. He'd done almost nothing to be two sets up. But I backed myself physically and he was struggling a bit at the end Cameron Norrie

.Cameron Norrie and Kyle Edmund successfully negotiated their way past tricky opponents to progress into the second round, the former causing the first upset of the day and the latter setting up the opportunity of possibly emulating him when he faces the world number one.

Norrie battled back from two sets down to defeat Diego Schwartzman, the ninth seed from Argentina, on a day which many felt would never come, namely the return of Grand Slam tennis following the five-month Covid-19 suspension.

Norrie, the British No.3 world ranked 76, saved a match point but smashed 39 winners and saved two match points in the deciding set to claim his biggest win at a major winning 3-6 4-6 6-2 6-1 7-5 in a minute-under four hours on Court 5.

As the score line shows it was a match played in three parts.

Schwartzman, the diminutive player from Argentina who stands 5 foot 7” in his tennis socks, is an indefatigable player and renown for his tenacity and aggressive play, all of which he displayed in the opening two sets to take charge of the match.

In the third with the scoreline at 2-2 the wheels came off for the South American who lost concentration by arguing with the umpire. He wondered why Norrie, following his uttering of an audible obscenity clerly heard in the empty court, was not given a point penalty after earlier in the match, receiving a warning for ball abuse – hitting the ball into those empty stands.

Norrie certainly took advantage of that loss of concentration which was augmented by the Argentine picking up a time violation as he tried to refocus.

Norrie broke for 3-2 and kept the pressure on the now reeling ninth seed allowing him just three more games as he levelled the match.

A change of shirt for Schwartzman helped him to get to grips with his game at the start of the fifth during which the two exchange breaks regularly in a match in which the pair producd an astonishing 58 breakpoints, a US Open record, and it was the higher ranked player who had the chance to seal it at 5-3 and 5-4 but with fatigue and cramp setting in, wasted the opportunities allowing Norrie back in, break, hold, and break again to snatch a well deserved and hard earned place in round two.

Norrie said:”I’m pretty tired actually. Honestly for me the tennis and the level wasn’t that great but I had a really good attitude throughout. I was happy with that. I was lucky to get through that one.”

He admitted that the number of break points was not necessarily that flattering. He held 15 in the first two sets converting just 2.

“I’m not sure if that’s a good stat to have. In the first couple of sets I missed so many second serve returns on the advantage side when I had break points. I was getting frustrated but I stayed patient and managed to convert way more at the end. 58 is a lot.

“The first two sets I was rushing everything, going for too much. I was making too many errors. He’d done almost nothing to be two sets up. But I backed myself physically and he was struggling a bit at the end.

“The British guys were watching and Schwartzman was getting a little bit upset at them cheering me. It was good to get over the line.”

Having seen off one Argentine, Norrie faces another in the next round, Federico Coria, who was handed the match when his opponent Jason Jun from Taipei retired in the fifth with the score standing at 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-1 2-0.

Kyle Edmund has a tough one next

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Kyle Edmund followed him into the second round but he faces the toughest opponent in the draw next.

The British No.2 defeated Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 2-6 7-5 7-5 6-0 to set up a tie with the top seeded and title favourite Novak Djokovic – who cruised past Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-4 6-1.

“I have beaten him, I have that experience but he’s also beaten me a bunch of times,” Edmund told Amazon Prime.

“He’s a top player, the type of player that’s tough to break down. You can’t just hit through him, you have to expect to fight for it. It’s a match for me that I’ve got nothing to lose.”

Edmund currently ranked 44, was in good form as he dispatched the Kazakhstani after dropping the first set.

“He’s unpredictable,” Edmund said after the match. “I expected a few more underhand serves. He only did the one and he completely did me.

“The first set was just – it could only get better really. There wasn’t anything I did right to be honest and I was annoyed at myself. I need to force to get myself to get going.

“The scoreline showed how the match went, I dug deep got some tough points and towards the end of the match started to play some good tennis and ran away with it a bit.”

Edmund will certainly have to get himself going from the start if he is ta make an impression on his next opponent.



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