Thursday, October 14, 2021 - Cameron Norrie plays Diego Schwartzman in a quarterfinal match on day 11 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)
Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie continues to break new ground in 2021. The former TCU standout, ranked a career-high No. 26, is into the first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal of his career thanks to a decisive 6-0, 6-2 upset of 11th-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman at the BNP Paribas Open.
It marked the 26-year-old’s third win over Schwartzman in four tour-level head-to-heads. With the win, Norrie will leapfrog countryman Daniel Evans to become the new British No. 1.
“I knew it would be a physical match, so I was just ready for that,” said Norrie, who now awaits the winner of the Grigor Dimitrov-Hubert Hurkacz quarterfinal. “I was able to execute. I hit a lot of lines, especially in the first set, and stayed tough in the second. I served well when I needed to. I’m so happy to be through. It’s such a big win for me. To be able to beat Diego in that fashion isn’t easy.”
The onetime Horned Frog played some squeaky-clean tennis in the speedy 31-minute opening set. Schwartzman was limited to just five of 19 points on his serve in the stanza.
Schwartzman, 29, finally got on the board when he held serve to open the second set. But Norrie continued to assert his aggressive lefty game, breaking for 3-2 with a massive backhand return winner and went on to close out the match in one hour and 13 minutes.
“I’ve been pretty consistent throughout the year,” said Norrie, who reached the final in San Diego and has now won eight of his last nine matches. “I think I’m really doing the fundamentals well — the serve and return, playing the big points better. I’ve been a little bit more aggressive. I think I’m learning as I’m going along and becoming more and more experienced on the tour. I’m playing the bigger matches better. Today was probably one of the biggest matches of my career. To show my level means a lot to me, and a lot to my team.”
Norrie is truly a global citizen: He was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, played collegiately in the United States, and has represented Great Britain since 2013. He captured his maiden ATP title earlier this year in Los Cabos, sweeping all eight sets en route to the trophy.
Norrie will look to stay hot against semifinal opponent Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who advanced to the final four in Indian Wells via a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) upset of No. 8 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. They faced each other earlier this year in Miami, with Norrie claiming a 7-5, 7-5 win in the second round.
“It was very hard for me to find my range today, but I stayed in there. I felt like I still had something in me. As soon as that second set ended, I knew that I had to step up a little bit more, be aggressive,” said Dimitrov, who won his 100th ATP Masters 1000 match in advancing to his second straight semifinal (San Diego). “I started reading his serve a little more. I kept on trying, I kept on believing. I think that made the difference. Even in the third set when I was up, I felt like the match wasn’t over. I knew he was going to fight.”
Dimitrov served for the match at 5-3 in the third, but needed a tiebreak to advance.
Hurkacz, a quarterfinalist here in his debut two years ago, had not dropped a set through three rounds coming into Thursday’s matchup. He won his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami in April.
“I feel different,” said Dimitrov, who stunned top seed and No. 2-ranked Daniil Medvedev in the Round of 16. “I’ve been trying to get back into a good rhythm of living. I’m very focused on my everyday life as of late. I’m really trying to focus not too much on winning or losing. Every day, when I get out here on the court, I know what I’m doing. When the job is done, I move on to the next thing.”