Indian Wells 2021 - British number two Cameron Norrie edged into round three with a hard-fought win over Tennys Sandgren
Cameron Norrie's bid to remain in contention for a place at the ATP finals in Turin courtesy of a strong run at Indian Wells gathered pace courtesy of a 6-4 5-7 6-0 win over American Tennys Sandgren. “I would love to (make it there)" he said. "There are a lot of points and I’m going to have to win one of the last tournaments, so I’m going to try and keep my chances alive."
Cameron Norrie of Great Britain plays a backhand against Tennys Sandgren of the United States during their second round match on Day 6 of the BNP Paribas Open
Cameron Norrie edged into round three at Indian Wells with a hard-fought victory over Tennys Sandgren to keep his outside hopes of making the ATP end of season finals alive.
The British number two eventually proved too consistent for the world number 102 as he clinched a 6-4 5-7 6-0 win in two hours and 15 minutes.
Speaking during his on-court interview, Norrie admitted it had been a rollercoaster encounter. He said: “It was a very strange one. I was up 5-1 and he kind of looked like he wasn’t interested, but then he was interested.
“He played better. I managed to save a couple of break points at 5-4 serving for the first (set) and then had a lot of break chances in the second. I was up a break and then he came at me again and I played a couple of loose games.
“The conditions are a bit different here so it’s good to get the first match under the belt. I played pretty solid in the third set there, but there’s definitely a lot of things to work on. I don’t think I did much well today, other than try my best every point.
“He (Sandgren) was touching at his back the whole match, I don’t think he sat down at the change of ends. It was bizarre and tough to stay concentrated. I need to find some rhythm and get back the good sensations.”
Norrie currently sits 14th in the race for Turin and after securing his 42nd win of the campaign he remains determined to bolster his slight hopes of making the men's season finale with a good run in the desert.
“I would love to (make it there)" he added."I think my chances are still open. There are a lot of points and I’m going to have to win one of the last tournaments, so I’m going to try and keep my chances alive.
For me, it’s a huge success of a year to even be in the conversation for that this deep in the year with only four tournaments to go. I'm pleased with myself but I've still got a lot to learn and a lot to keep improving on."
Norrie came out all guns blazing by storming into a 4-0 lead, notching up 16 of the first 22 points.
Sandgren belatedly got on the board but then had to save triple break point to avoid a first-set breadstick at 5-1 down. Norrie still seemed to be in control but threw in a shocking service game to give his opponent hope of an unlikely recovery.
With momentum appearing to be shifting, Norrie had a second chance to serve it out but had to fend off two more break points before finding a way to take the opening set with a bullet forehand after 43 topsy-turvy minutes.
Sandgren continued to battle hard despite appearing to be hampered by a lower back problem but couldn’t make the most of two break points of his own as Norrie levelled at 2-2. The Brit then blew an even greater opening as the American hit back from triple break point down with some deft touches at the net.
Norrie, who has reached five ATP Tour finals in a stellar season so far, didn’t let the disappointment affect his focus and when two more opportunities came along in Game 7 he made it count on the second with a clinical backhand winner.
Victory appeared to be in sight for the 26-year-old Briton but he couldn’t back up the break as Sandgren threw everything at him to somehow bite straight back at 4-4.
Norrie then lost concentration at a crucial point as errors leaked off his racket, allowing the American to break and force a decider.
The British number two would have been inwardly furious with himself but he responded in the perfect way by racing out of the traps and securing a double break to lead 3-0 against a visibly tiring opponent.
This time Norrie did not falter and he cruised through the remainder of the match to claim a bagel and set up a meeting with No.15 seed Roberto Bautista Agut next.
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