Cameron Norrie looking likely in the Lyon Open after downing Sebastian Baez

Cameron Norrie

Top seed and defending champion Cameron Norrie looks likely in the Lyon Open after a win over sixth seeded Argentine Sebastian Baez to reach the last four in his title defence and extend his winning streak at the venue to six matches.

Norrie snatched a 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 win in his last eight clash with Baez, whom he also defeated at the same stage in last year’s competition.

The decisive set saw Norrie play some of his best tennis of the 2023 season so far to reach the semis in Lyon for a fourth time.

The British No 1 was pleased with his confidence and shotmaking as he came through the decider in a comfortable fashion.

“The second set he came back strong, he was winning the tougher games like I was in the first set,” Norrie said after the match.

“I tried to reset and came out with a lot of energy.

“I have won a lot of three-set matches this year, so I had a lot of confidence going into the decider and I thought it was a solid match.”

Norrie bullied Baez with brazen forehand bombs and an aggressive approach on return in the decider that kept the Argentine on his heels.

The top Brit claimed an incredible 55 per cent (6/11) of points on Baez’s first delivery in an emphatic 6-1 third set win that clinched his progression to the Lyon Open in just about seven minutes short of two hours.

Norrie leads Baez 2-0 in the ATP Tour Head-to-head record between the players.

He had also defeated the Argentine in the quarter-finals in the same Lyon Open last year on his way to claiming the title.

Norrie has enjoyed decent form on clay and could really use the confidence boost of another title win ahead of his French Open challenge.

He captured his fifth tour-level title on clay in Rio earlier this season.

The victory has set up a semi-final meeting with Francisco Cerundolo, who defeated Norrie’s fellow Briton Jack Draper 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday.

Cerundolo rallied from a set and a break down to oust the other British hope.

The fourth seed raised his intensity as the match wore on and advanced to his first tour-level semi-final since Hamburg in 2022 with a confident finish.

The 24-year-old is in the hunt to secure his second title on clay, having triumphed in Bastad in 2022.

Cerundolo has now won five of his past six matches on clay, coming into Lyon off the back of a last eight run in Rome.