Cameron Norrie will face Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, declaring: “I’ll take it too him.”
It wasn't going my way from the beginning. All credit to David, he was moving me and playing really good, but thanks to you guys in the crowd. I managed to stay as patient as I could Cameron Norrie
Ninth seed Norrie became only the fourth British player to reach the last four in the Open Era when he overcame Belgian David Goffin 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-3 7-5 in 3hr 28min, on a rocking No.1 Court.
Roger Taylor made it three times, Tim Henman four and Andy Murray seven.
Only Murray went on to the final, winning it twice.
And left-hander Norrie, 26, is determined to upset the odds against Djokovic after a roller-coaster encounter by Royal appointment against Goffin witnessed by the Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge who joined the 10,000-crowd celebrating an historic victory.
With tears welling in his eyes, the Quiet Man of British tennis, the first British men’s semi-finalist at the tournament since Murray in 2016, said to his fans: “I can’t even talk, I’m so happy to get through with such a great team, such a great family and friends here.
“It wasn’t going my way from the beginning. All credit to David, he was moving me and playing really good, but thanks to you guys in the crowd. I managed to stay as patient as I could.
“It was all just adrenaline, using my legs and trying to put the ball in the court, and it’s great to get over the line.
“I think just winning a match like this, I’m in shock. I have flashbacks of all the hard work and all the sacrifices I have had to make and it’s definitely paid off – and it feels pretty good.”
On playing Djokovic, who had to come back from two sets down to beat Italian Jannik Sinner, he added: “It great to get this now but it’s only going to get tougher.
“I’m going take it to Novak and hopefully you guys can get behind me and I’m sure you will.”
The 35-year-old Serb was given a huge scare by Italy’s Jannik Sinner before fighting back to win in five sets earlier on Tuesday.
Norrie had never been in a Slam quarter final. In fact, he had never reached the second week of a major.
But the British No.1 was the lone survivor of 17 entrants in both singles events going in.
He had had come from close to nowhere over the last year or so to the edge of the world top ten.
And, with the departure of Murray in the second round, it was clear he was the biggest hope of achieving glory among the home favourites.
He had improved round by round. All the hard work he had put in to better his fitness and turn his forehand into a lethal weapon appeared to be paying off, as his American victims, Steve Johnson and Tommy Paul, would testify.
But the chance to get into the last four of the globe’s greatest tennis tournament would mess with the minds of most unless you are battle hardened.
And it seemed as if the occasion was getting to Norrie. His forehand deserted him as he committed a stream of errors on it, with the ball often sailing long off the racket.
Norrie’s serve also went AWOL with his first serve percentage way down.
Goffin had to play five sets over four and a half hours to get through against American Frances Tiafoe.
And he has been plagued by injury in recent times.
But the diminutive Belgian was showing no signs of fatigue or physical niggles as he whizzed around the court and displayed the best of his all court game.
He broke Norrie in the fifth game of the match and Norrie could not get his game together as the former world No.7 took the opening set.
And Norrie continued to struggle with his form, the tension in his body seemed palpable. He saved break points in the opening game and in the fifth but hung on. If you can do that despite not being your best, it must give encouragement.
And Norrie got his reward when he broke Goffin to level the match.
It appeared the momentum was with Norrie. But not so. He was broken twice as he lost the first four games of the third set as Goffin edged back in front.
He was trying to find his rhythm in the fourth, but Goffin continued to enjoy success with his deadly accurate forehand and backhand groundstrokes. Yet, again, the wannabe home hero held on to the Belgian’s coattails.
And Norrie got what he deserved when he broke the Goffin serve for a 5-3 lead before serving out to level the match once again.
Norrie had begun to engage the crowd up urging them with his hands to turn up the volume.
And his supporters duly obliged as he finally found his true game in the fifth set.
Goffin, though, was not going anywhere and it was nip and tuck before Norrie secured the vital break for a 6-5 lead.
With the crowd chanting “Oggy, oggy, oggy, oi, oi oi”, Norrie came out to serve. Could he hold his nerve one last time? He went 30-0 up but Goffin pulled him level.
An ace brought up Norrie’s first match point but the Belgian produced a world-class forehand pass to save it. Norrie earned another and this time it sealed victory as Goffin dumped a backhand into the net.
Norrie, looking slightly bemused, slowly lifted up his arms with a small smile on his face to acknowledge the applause pouring down from the crowd.
His mum Helen joined in the chorus of “Norrie, Norrie, Norrie”, clapping along with tears of joy in her eyes. Norrie’s girlfriend Louise Jacobi was beaming under her straw hat. There’s nothing like a British winner at Wimbledon.
And it was the biggest of Norrie’s experience. But as he acknowledged it gets tougher from here as he contemplates the prospect of facing six-time champion Djokovic for a place in the most coveted tennis final of them all.