Cameron Norrie overcame a tricky test in his first match as the top seed at an ATP Tour event, taking down Elias Ymer in a tight 7-6(4), 6-3 win at the Mifel Open on Wednesday.
The British player arrived in Los Cabos at a career-high No. 30 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after reaching a personal-best three finals in Estoril (l. to Ramos-Vinolas), Lyon (l. to Tsitsipas) and the Queen’s Club (l. to Berrettini). He improved to 32-14 on the season with the victory.
“This match had a little bit of everything, and all credit to Elias because he came out and played great,” Norrie said. “It was nice to get my first match win. It was tough conditions, really warm, but it feels good to get that first match out of the way. But all credit to him, I was honestly fortunate to get through the match.”
Norrie had to fight through a sluggish start in the hot and sunny conditions in Baja California Sur, as he ran up against a red-hot Ymer who raced out of the gates dictating play with his groundstrokes. The 25-year-old Swede hit deep through the court and kept Norrie behind the baseline, unable to attack, and Ymer mixed in drop shots to great success.
Ymer held three break opportunities in the first set – all of them set points – as Norrie fired big first serves to stay in the contest at 5-4 and send them into a tie-break at 6-5. But under pressure as Norrie continued to retrieve every ball, Ymer committed three unforced errors in a row from 4/4 to give the Brit the opening set after 69 minutes.
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The Swede did well to bounce back and open the second set with an early break, winning eight points in a row as he went 3-1 ahead. But Norrie had already settled into the match and he responded in kind, raising his level and reeling off the next five games in a row to clinch his place in the quarter-finals.
He will next face American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo, who needed an hour and 46 minutes to take down Denis Kudla 6-4, 7-6(9).