Cameron Norrie sets up Carlos Alcaraz clash as he sails back into top 10 in rankings
Cameron Norrie brushed aside young American Ben Shelton in the third-round of the Western & Southern Open and his reward is a quarter-final date with the highly-rated Carlos Alcaraz.
After his solid win over fellow Brit Andy Murray in the second round on Wednesday, Norrie had an easier day at the office as he defeated the world No 229 in just 58 minutes, securing a 6-0, 6-2 victory.
The 19-year-old Shelton had enjoyed a magical week in Mason, Ohio, as he notched up his maiden ATP Masters 1000 win and also claimed a first victory over a top-five player when he defeated fifth seed Casper Ruud in the second round.
First Masters 1000 win ✅
First Top-5 win ✅
First round of 16 at a Masters 1000 ✅
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 19, 2022
But the wildcard ran out of steam in the round of 16 as Norrie broke in games one, three and five of the 24-minute opening set.
In fact Norrie won the first eight games as it took Shelton until game three of the second set to get on the scoreboard. A second break in game sealed the deal for the Brit.
The win will see Norrie rise back up to No 10 in the ATP Rankings while he could climb as high as No 8 if he reaches the semi-final.
However, it gets tougher from here on in for the British No 1 as he is up against third seed Alcaraz in the quarter-final with the teenager finding some form again after his hiccup at the Canadian Open last week.
The Spaniard lost his opening match in Montreal, but on Thursday he was back to his best as he beat 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.
“I know that Marin is a really aggressive player. I had to be really focussed on the match,” Alcaraz said.
“I knew that it was going to be a tough match, that I had to be [mentally] in the match all the time. I knew that I was going to have my chances to break his big serve. So I’m really happy with the performance and the focus in the match.”
A title run in Cincinnati will see the Spaniard rise to a career-high of No 2 in the ATP Rankings.
The winner of the Alcaraz-Norrie match will take on either Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime or Borna Coric from Croatia for a place in the semi-final.
Seventh seed Auger-Aliassime saved two match points in game 12 of the second set before getting better of fellow young Jannik Sinner, winning 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 while Coric took down another seeded player as he followed up his win over second seed Rafael Nadal with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
“Jannik was just playing too good. I didn’t have a great start, I was missing a lot. But I just had no time. He was playing so fast, so precise, serving well. For a set and a half, it was just too good,” Auger-Aliassime said. “That game he broke me in the second, returning on the baseline for three returns in a row, you can’t do much better, so I had to give it to him.
“But at the end, I was still on the court trying to find ways, trying to fight and trying to see how I could make him miss a few more balls and to put myself in a competing position and I did that well… To come back and play that way in the tie-break and the third set, that means a lot to me going forward.”
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