Cameron Norrie ready to build on opening-round win – ‘I enjoyed the match after that tricky first set’
Cameron Norrie survived a close first-set battle against teenager Luca Van Assche before pulling away to ease into the second round of the Australian Open.
The British No 1, seeded 11, has become a master of winning these early Grand-Slam matches and so it proved once again, a run of 10 straight games helping him to a 7-6 (7-3), 6-0, 6-3 victory over a player ranked 143.
Norrie only arrived in Melbourne late on Saturday night after a heart-breaking loss to Richard Gasquet in the final of the ASB Classic in his home city of Auckland.
That gave him only one day to prepare for this match but he carried a lot of confidence from a run of six victories to start the season, including over Rafael Nadal at the mixed gender United Cup, as well as his exploits of the last two campaigns.
✅ Undefeated at the @UnitedCupTennis
✅ Final at the @ASB_Classic
✅ Through to the second round of #AO2023@cam_norrie continues his impressive run of form this season as he defeats Van Assche 7-6(3) 6-0 6-3 at the #AusOpen. pic.twitter.com/tGbPQoHr9u
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 16, 2023
“I was pretty nervous but I managed to relax in the second set there and close out a tough game. Not my best level but I’ll build on it,” Norrie, who reached the semi-final at Wimbledon last year, said.
“I enjoyed the match after that tricky first set.”
A good run here could see Norrie return to the top 10 and he was his customary relentless self as he wore down 18-year-old Van Assche.
The Frenchman, who won the junior title at Roland Garros in 2021, is considered a big talent for the future and twice recovered from a break down in the opening set.
Norrie became a little wayward off his forehand but tightened things up in the tie-break and from there kept constant pressure on Van Assche, who will have learned a lot from the encounter but was not quite up to the task here.
The 27-year-old has set his sights high for the next few years as he aims to become No 1 in the world.
“I want to be world No 1, that’s a big goal for me. Obviously there’s a lot of things I need to tick off first, I have not been top five yet so it’s a goal I want to put in my mind to make sure every day I am practising towards that and trying to be the best player in the world,” he said.
“It’s a tough goal and a long way to go.”
He will face either Thiago Monteiro from Brazil or Frenchman Constant Lestienne in the second round. The other danger player in the quarter is sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Leylah Fernandez cheers sister Bianca and UCLA Bruins to collegiate triumph
Leylah Fernandez was able to take time to cheer for her younger sister Bianca,
San Diego Open draw: Jessica Pegula returns as top seed
Jessica Pegula returns to WTA Tour action as the top seed at the San Diego Open.
WTA Rankings Winners and Losers from Middle East swing: Coco Gauff misses out, Jasmine Paolini moves up
Jasmine Paolini and Anna Kalinskaya set for career-high moves.
ATP Dubai draw: Andy Murray handed yet another horrible route while Daniil Medvedev returns
No easy matches for Andy Murray at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Legend Andre Agassi reportedly set to land high-profile tennis job
Andre Agassi set for first high-profile job in tennis in several years.
Carlos Alcaraz fitness update ahead of North American swing as he turns into a ball boy for his brother
Carlos Alcaraz is on the mend and he has even been able to act as a ball boy for his brother.
Andy Murray assesses Jannik Sinner’s Wimbledon chances and explains unique quality needed to play well on grass
Andy Murray admits you need one unique feature to do well at Wimbledon.
‘Angry’ Iga Swiatek determined ‘to let it go and accept it’ after Dubai exit
“I was so out of power and tired,” admits Iga Swiatek.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic enjoy mile-high reunion
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had a surprise meeting on a flight to the USA.