Cameron Norrie breaks new ground at home Grand Slam

Wimbledon
Cameron Norrie

Cameron Norrie followed Heather Watson by breaking new ground and reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon.

This was the sixth time in the last nine grand slams that the British number one had made it to the last 32 but – not helped by coming up against the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – he had never gone further.

He changed that in emphatic fashion against Steve Johnson, though, outclassing the American 6-4 6-1 6-0 in just an hour and 49 minutes for his first Centre Court victory.

“It feels really good,” he said afterwards.

“Obviously, to do it here, especially here at Wimbledon, especially here at home, and yeah, first time in the second week of a Grand Slam and I couldn’t be more happy, especially with all my friends and family watching me, so it’s definitely good timing that they’re here watching.

“I definitely enjoyed that match today, and a little bit less stressful for my squad today than the other day [against Munar].

“I’m enjoying playing at this level, I’m enjoying the process of it all and enjoying improving. It’s been a lot of fun with my coach Facundo and my team Julian [Romero] and Vasek [Jursik] – we’ve all got the same goals and we’re all pushing each other just as hard as everyone else in the team.

“It’s been a lot of fun, but I want to keep going and keep ticking more boxes.

“I’m as ready as I can be. I’m training as hard as I can and it’s been a tricky grass season, but I’ve peaked at the right time and definitely moving better and feeling a lot better on the court.”

Norrie, seeded ninth, is the highest-ranked player in his quarter but he had to battle from two sets to one down to beat Spain’s Jaume Munar in the previous round.

He was a heavy favourite against world number 93 Johnson, but the big-serving 32-year-old is at his best on grass and reached the fourth round here six years ago.

Norrie probed throughout a tight first set, seeing five break points come and go before a backhand dinked neatly out of Johnson’s reach on the sixth opportunity gave it to him.

The 26-year-old had made a few uncharacteristic unforced errors on what was a huge occasion for him but winning the opening set settled him down and he was relentless in the second.

Cameron Norrie lunges for a backhand (Adam Davy/PA)
Johnson simply could not match the consistency and athleticism of Norrie, who hustled around the court retrieving almost everything, and by the beginning of the third he was looking thoroughly worn down.

Only Andy Murray among active British men had ever reached the last 16 in singles at Wimbledon but Norrie raced towards his target to set up a clash with another American, Tommy Paul, on Sunday.

Paul, 25, has had a strong grass-court season, reaching the quarter-finals at Queen’s Club and Eastbourne, but Norrie will fancy his chances of keeping home interest going well into the second week.

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