Cameron Norrie continues to reap the rewards of the hard work he put in to improve his fitness during the lockdown as he clocked up his 44th win of the season when he defeated Tommy Paul at Indian Wells to reach the last eight of the BNP Paribas Open and make his first career quarter-final appearance at a Masters 1000 tournament on a day which also saw the US Open champion and top seed, Daniil Medvedev eliminated.
Not really playing my best but fighting hard and competing as hard as I can. I’m actually, in the big moments, serving well Cameron Norrie
Norrie trumped Paul 6-4 4-6 6-2 and declared himself satisfied with his performance but believes he can improve.
“I was just pleased to be through,” the Johannesburg born Londoner said. “Not really playing my best but fighting hard and competing as hard as I can. I’m actually, in the big moments, serving well.”
From the start, the British No.2’s game was intensive as, point by point, he kept his American opponent on the defensive to surge 5-1 ahead.
Paul recovered sufficiently to claim back a break but couldn’t halt Norries’s progress to claim the first set at his second attempt.
However, he did take charge of the second set by changing tactics and advancing to the net to great effect.
Norrie’s response in the third was equally strong as he shrugged aside any disappointment by breaking early in the decider but Paul immediately came back at him as both players wrestled to take control with five consecutive breaks.
Eventually it was Norrie who took command, holding serve for 4-2 to claim his 44th win on the tour this season which places him sixth on the year’s leader-board alongside Novak Djokovic and 15th in the Race for the ATP Finals in Turin.
He faces Diego Schwartzman for a place in the semi-finals, the Argentine who took out Dan Evans over three sets in the third round, and followed it up by comfortably dispatching the sixth seed from Norway, Casper Ruud, 6-3 6-3 to make the last eight.
Should the 26-year-old Norrie advance past Schwartzman – a player he beat in the first round of the 2020 US Open – he will leapfrog Evans in the world rankings by breaking into the top 20 for the first time in his career and take over the mantle of British No.1.
The big story of the day though, was Grigor Dimitrov’s success over the top seed who looked set to romp past the Bulgarian when he won the first set and strode into a 4-1 lead in the second.
But Dimitrov, seeded 23, recovered to upset the US Open champion and world No.2, 4-6 6-4 6-3 for his best win of the year.
Medvedev hadn’t lost a set heading into the fourth round but dropped eight straight games against Dimitrov en route to his surprising loss.
“I did feel exhausted in this tournament. Now I can say it. I couldn’t say it before my matches. There are a few physical things that have come up,” said Medvedev, who is hoping to eventually overtake Novak Djokovic for number one in the world.
He was also impressed by the way Dimitrov played.
“If he plays like this, like the way he played me from 4-1, then he is going to win the tournament,” Medvedev said. “He played the second half of the match better than anyone did against me at the US Open. It is not like I gave him the match.”
It was just the second time Dimitrov has beaten Medvedev in five career meetings who, after two-hours and 15-minutes of play, said: “Everything came through. That’s great.”
He goes on to face Polish eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz, who had earlier rolled past Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-1 6-3.
The rest of the men’s quarter-finals line up sees Alexander Zverev take on American Taylor Fritz after the German beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-1 6-3, while second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Georgia’s unseeded Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Tsitsipas, who made the final of the French Open in June, recovered from a set down to beat Australian Alex de Minaur 6-7(3) 7-6(3) 6-2 while Basilashvili took out Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-6(6)..