After a spirited effort by Great Britain’s Liam Broady as he went down 3-6, 4-6, 6-7 to Spain’s Albert Ramos Violas, 22-year old debutant Cameron Norrie registered one of the outstanding results in British Davis Cup history by coming back from two sets to love down to defeat world number 23 Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. To win a live Davis Cup singles rubber on Spanish clay is a rare feat indeed, but for Norrie to do so having never played a five set match before and having zero clay court experience makes his achievement all the more remarkable.
Throughout the four-hour match Norrie matched Bautista Agut’s groundstrokes but was often one step ahead when it came to delivering the knockout blow. The Spanish player had treatment on his left thigh after losing the 4th set, but continued to fight all the way to the finish. Towards the end Norrie left the Spaniard flat-footed with a stream of forehand winners, and Bautista Agut’s puzzled glances across to Sergi Brugera spoke volumes, as did the Spanish captain’s shrugs of disbelief in reply. Norrie had quite simply produced a world-class performance which no-one could have foreseen.
With the tie now poised at 1-1, Saturday’s doubles takes on a whole new complexion. Whatever the eventual outcome of the tie, today’s play has proved beyond doubt the value of the best-of-five sets format.