British No 1 makes it difficult for himself in opening grass court win at Queen’s Club

Cameron Norrie

Cameron Norrie admitted that a loss of focus caused him to make his victory over Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic at Queen’s Club a lot more difficult than it needed to be.

Norrie stressed the need to play point by point on grass over any other surface following a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) win that saw him reach the second round of the Cinch Championships in London.

Norrie hasn’t played a match on grass since his dream run to the Wimbledon semi-finals was ended by Novak Djokovic a little less than a year ago.

Though it did take the fifth seed some to adjust, his flat groundstrokes gave Kecmanovic problems from the get-go. Norrie appeared to play with ease in front of a loud home crowd, advancing after 85 minutes, and earning his 30th tour-level victory of the year on his fifth match point.

The next opponent for the top-ranked Brit will be either Canadian Milos Raonic or Australian Jordan Thompson, who both just rejoined the Tour in Stuttgart after respective injury layoffs, although the former has been absent longer.

Norrie rued missing his chances to forge an advantage in the second set before clinching the match with a tiebreak win.

“It was a tight couple of sets. I made it a bit difficult for myself, but that is grass-court tennis,” Norrie said. “If you are not playing point for point you can make it difficult for yourself. I think it helped that I have played on this court before and I know what it is like on the first day, it can be quite slippery. I was trying to find good width and make him move and stay on top.”

Norrie says that he has fond memories of playing at The Queen’s Club, having advanced to the championship match in 2021 and he is upbeat about the possibility of winning titles on home soil.

“It feels good,” Norrie said when asked about being back in Britain. “I came straight here after Paris. I have had a couple of weeks preparation. Today’s match brought back a lot of good memories from last year on the grass.”

In his debut match on grass at the tour level,  highly-rated young American Ben Shelton also prevailed. To advance to the second round, the 20-year-old American upset compatriot J.J. Wolf 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2).

Shelton, who recovered from dropping a break in the opening set, has had a breakout season on the ATP Tour, with his journey to the Australian Open quarterfinals serving as the highlight to date. The lefty will play either Lorenzo Musetti or British wild card Jan Choinski next.

British wildcard Ryan Peniston upset Ugo Humbert 6-4, 6-2 in additional first-round play.

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