Wimbledon | Norrie romps into fourth round

Cameron Norrie carries the expectations of a nation into the second week of The Wimbledon men’s singles and declared “I’m as ready as I can be.”

It feels really good (to make the fourth round of a major), especially here at Wimbledon. At home. Cameron Norrie

The British No.1 and ninth seed sealed a last-16 spot in a Grand Slam for the first time as he thrashed American Steve Johnson 6-4 6-1 6-0 at The Championships.

It is the first time a home player has made the last 16 since two-time champion Andy Murray five years ago.

And the 26-year-old left-hander will meet Johnson’s compatriot Tommy Paul, the 30th seed who defeated Czech Jiri Vesely in straight sets, in his bid for the quarter-finals.

Norrie said: “I’m as ready as I can be (for the second week) – I’m training as hard as I can and it’s been a tricky grass season and I’ve peaked at the right time. I’m feeling good and moving well on the court so I’m as ready as I can be.

“It feels really good (to make the fourth round of a major), especially here at Wimbledon. At home. First time in the second week of a Grand Slam and I couldn’t be happier especially with all my friends and family watching me. It’s good timing that they’re here! I enjoyed that match and it was a bit less stressful than the last round for my squad (a five-set win).

“I’m enjoying playing at this level, the process. And enjoying improving with my coach and my team. We all have the same goals and we’re all pushing each other – it’s been a lot of fun and I want to keep going and keep ticking all boxes.”

Former champion John McEnroe added: “It’s an incredible feeling when it all goes your way, especially when you’re on Centre Court at Wimbledon. When you’ve waited all these years to get to a second week and it seems like every break is going your way.”

There was no tea-time Centre Court drama to compare to that produced by two-time champion Murray in the opening two rounds.

It was a match with the potential to change his life.

The stage was set. Murray and Emma Raducanu had dominated British interest on the world’s most famous tennis court for the first few days of the tournament.

But now it was Norrie’s time to step into the limelight. The 15,000 of home supporters were expectant. Millions coming back from work were tuning into the tea-time encounter the same. His mum Helen and dad David had flown in from their home in New Zealand to witness it.

He was also overwhelming favourite as the ninth seed against a 32-year-old world-ranked 93. Norrie also had the extra motivation, as if he needed it, of avenging compatriot Ryan Peniston, defeated by Johnson in the second round. Norrie might have made the Queen’s final last year, but this was different gravy.

Would he get stage fright? Would he revel in the attention and willingness of his fans and the nation to succeed? The short answer – No.

It was a quiet start from both players with Norrie offering most consistency and Johnson making more errors.

Norrie secured double break points on Johnson’s opening two serves before the American held on, with aces to clinch both of them, but finally broke his opponent to seal the opening set.

It seemed Johnson was troubled by a blister on his right forefinger and his problems mounted as Norrie broke him in his first service game of the second.

The home favourite sped into a 3-0 lead before the American held.

But that was the only other game Norrie conceded for the rest of the match as the ninth seed cantered to the finish.

Norrie gave little away with solid serving, effective placement and smooth movement around the court and Johnson’s game fell apart. In truth the British No.1 was not extended.

McEnroe said Johnson had that “get me out of here feeling” as his game “went south”.

The fans chanted: “Norrie, Norrie, Norrie, oi, oi, oi”.

But as much as the crowd enjoyed their player romping home, you had to feel for Johnson who sat hollowed eyed on his seat at the end trying to hide his hurt.

McEnroe said: “It doesn’t get any easier than that – he played better as the match went on and the crowd got more into it. Listen to this noise – this is awesome for Cam Norrie.

“I feel bad for Steve Johnson, it’s unfortunate but it’s not the worst thing ever.”

Pat Cash, the 1987 champion, said: “The scoreline is quite incredible. It’s been so impressive from Norrie. Johnson’s been below par but Norrie’s mixed it up, kept Johnson off balance and that’s what you have to do against a player like Johnson.”

Cameron Norrie thanks the crowd for their support

Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images



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