A new name will be etched onto the massive Queen’s Cup this afternoon when the final of the cinch Championships is completed and there is a chance that it could be a Brit following Cameron Norrie’s semi-final defeat of the second seed from Canada, Denis Shapovalov.
I can't really describe it, it's nice to get over the line. It's a huge tournament for me. I couldn't be more pleased with myself. Cameron Norrie
First through though was the Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini on his debut at the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event, who overpowered Australia’s Alex de Minaur 6-4 6-4 for his final place.
Berrettini has proved he is no slouch on grass having won the 2019 Stuttgart event, and sailed through this week without dropping a set for his seventh career final.
Ranked No.9 in the world he broke the fourth seed once in each set and always looked in control as he eased past the Aussie to reach his final goal.
“That was the goal of the week [making the final], and now I have one more step. It is a great achievement, especially for the history of this tournament,” Berrettini told the ATP website.
“I am really happy because to beat Alex today, I had to play my best tennis,
“The mentality is that I always think I can win my service games. I know that I have a big weapon with my serve and first shot.”
His problem is not to allow himself to become over-confident as he explained: “If I sleep too well it means something is off ahead of the final. I have to be nervous and tight a little bit, otherwise the adrenaline does not kick in and it is tougher to play.”
Norrie had a wait to see who he played in the semi-final as Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe had to complete their quarter-final match which had been suspended overnight due to bad light and, with the Canadian already leading by a set, it didn’t take him long to finish off the American 6-3 6-4.
In the semi-final, Shapovalov got an early break as Norrie made a nervy start with two double faults and two unforced errors in his opening game. But he struck back immediately to get back on serve by breaking the second seed to love and then took the first set with a stunning backhand down the line which left the Canadian on his backside.
Shapovalov required treatment to his left leg early in the second set but proved powerless to stop Britain’s No.2, world ranked 41, from romping into the final – the fourth of his career and third this year – 7-5 6-3.
It also proved another notable scalp to add to the growing list of players he has defeated this season which has seen him win 29 matches, more than any other player except Russia’s Andrey Rublev.
“It is a huge tournament for me and one of my biggest achievements so far, so I couldn’t be more pleased with myself. Let’s see if I can win one more tomorrow,” the 25-year-old, who has yet to win a title, said.
“Matteo is one of the best players on the Tour at the moment,” Norrie continued.
“He’s got a good forehand and likes the drop shots, so maybe I’ll have a chat to Evo and Andy and will see if they have any tips for me.”
The pair have never met before and irrespective of the final result, Norrie can be proud of his achievement in making the title round to match both Tim Henman and Andy Murray, the only other Brits to reach the last two in 40 years. Should he go on and win he would join Murray as the only Brit to lift the trophy since WWII.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” confessed Norrie. “I think I played very, very good today and I’m so pleased to get into the final.
“I can’t really describe it, it’s nice to get over the line. It’s a huge tournament for me. I couldn’t be more pleased with myself.”
Looking ahead at the final, he added: “I’ve watched him throughout the week. He has a huge serve, he’s one of the best players on the tour at the moment.
“I might have a chat with Evo and Andy and see if they have any tips. I saw him play earlier today and he had a really good day. It’s not going to be easy.”
Norrie faces a busy day on Sunday with a doubles semi-final to finish – and potentially then another final to play – alongside partner De Minaur.
Their last-four clash against America’s Reilly Opelka and Australian John Peers was suspended with the duo a set down and at 2-2 in the second.
“It’s going to be an interesting day,” Norrie added. “Obviously the big focus is on the singles, to take care of that and then, yeah, I’ll just enjoy the doubles with Alex.”