ATP

Norrie completes comeback to conquer Basilashvili for historic Indian Wells title

By Sports Desk October 17, 2021

Cameron Norrie became the first British player to win the ATP Indian Wells Masters after fighting back to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in an historic three-set victory.

Norrie dropped the opening set before rallying to a memorable 3-6 6-4 6-1 triumph for the biggest title of his career on Sunday.

The world number 26 became the first man ranked outside the top 25 to win in the Californian desert since Ivan Ljubicic in 2010 as he moved 10th in the Race to Turin, with the ATP Finals taking place next month.

"It means so much to me, my biggest title. I'm so happy. I can't even describe it right now," 21st seed Norrie said in his on-court interview. "It was a strange match today but absolutely massive for me and my team.

"I can't really believe it. If you’d have told me I'd have won before the tournament started I wouldn’t have believed you, so it's amazing."

Basilashvili – the 29th seed – was down an early break at 3-1 before turning the first set on its ear by reeling off five straight games to seize control.

It was the first time Norrie had dropped an opening set at this year's tournament and it was looking ominous when the new British number one surrendered another break at 2-1 at the start of the second.

But a run of eight consecutive points fuelled Norrie, who broke to level the match against Basilashvili.

While Basilashvili had his chances, Norrie used his defensive skills to outlast the Georgian after almost two hours on court.

Norrie, who boasts a 47-20 record in 2021, added: "I've been really enjoying my tennis and been enjoying being out on court and competing in the big moments.

"I'm just really pleased with how I handled the occasion. I think I'm doing a lot better with that this year. I lost a lot of those finals, so it's nice to get the big one today."

Related items

  • Can Leclerc lift his Monaco curse with Red Bull in control? Can Leclerc lift his Monaco curse with Red Bull in control?

    Formula One has arrived at the most prestigious race on the calendar, and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc would be desperate to end an awful run of form at his home race.

    Born and raised in Monaco, Leclerc's string of bad luck on the historic circuit dates back to his days in Formula Two, where he set the F2 lap record in 2017 before suspension problems caused a DNF.

    The next year, in F1, he was in the points for Sauber before brake failure led to a crash with Brendan Hartley.

    After poor strategy and Q1 elimination in his first Monaco Grand Prix for Ferrari in 2019, Leclerc charged up the field early on but pushed a little too hard and collided with Romain Grosjean at Rascasse.

    In 2021, he surprisingly stuck an inferior Ferrari on pole position but crashed at the end of Q3, and extensive drive-shaft damage led to him cruelly retiring on the formation lap.

    The 24-year-old became the first Monegasque to claim pole, but his three DNFs – from as many F1 entries – are his most at any circuit.

    Despite ending up in the barriers on a demonstration lap in Niki Lauda's Ferrari last week, another pole could finally put Leclerc on the top step in his home race.

    Twelve of the past 17 winners at Monaco have started from pole, as little room to overtake with bigger cars on Monte Carlo's notoriously tight streets makes track position critical.

    It would be a welcome way for Leclerc to buck his trend of failing to convert poles into race victories, winning only four times from 13 starts at the front of the grid.

    The title race adds another dimension, with Max Verstappen taking a six-point lead from him in the drivers' standings after successive victories at Imola, Miami and Barcelona.

    In-form Red Bull with records in sight

    Monaco has been a happy hunting ground for Red Bull, and this weekend could bring a number of records for the team.

    This weekend could see Red Bull claim their highest number of race wins (six), pole positions (six), podiums (24, with both drivers) and points earned at a circuit, surpassing the 356 collected in Spain.

    Meanwhile, reigning world champion Verstappen has the chance to record the longest winning streak of his career, beating last year's three wins between France and Austria.

    Ricciardo in need of renaissance

    Daniel Ricciardo has come under criticism from McLaren team principal Zak Brown for his recent performances, with a clear need for improvement.

    The 32-year-old suffered one of the lowest points of his career last year in Monte Carlo, when he was lapped by teammate Lando Norris.

    Ricciardo is suffering his worst streak of finishes outside the points (three) since 2012, when he had five consecutive empty-handed returns for Toro Rosso.

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Drivers

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 110
    2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 104
    3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 85
    4. George Russell (Mercedes) 74
    5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 65

    Constructors

    1. Red Bull 195
    2. Ferrari 169
    3. Mercedes 120
    4. McLaren 50
    5. Alfa Romeo 39

  • French Open: 'I refuse to give up' - Tsitsipas stages five-set comeback over Musetti French Open: 'I refuse to give up' - Tsitsipas stages five-set comeback over Musetti

    Stefanos Tsitsipas completed the third comeback win from two sets down of his career on Tuesday, defeating Lorenzo Musetti 5-7 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-2 at the French Open.

    Before moving to a 2-0 head-to-head record over Musetti, the fourth-seed Greek's last such victory was against Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at the 2021 Australian Open.

    Tsitsipas needed to draw on that experience and dig deep after only winning 60 per cent of points on his first serve in the first two sets on Tuesday, going on to then win 15 of 17 points in the deciding set.

    Post-match, the world number four explained how he needed to isolate his focus on each point and build from there after going two sets down.

    "Things don't come easy. I refuse to give up. That's simply how it works with me," Tsitsipas said. "You never really think about getting back after being two sets to love. You just play it point after point. You just wish that your efforts will pay off on a longer scale, longer run.

    "Being in that situation, it's a mountain that you have to climb, and I was able to climb it and regain the momentum steadily, but consistently."

    The 20-year-old Musetti was able to gain early momentum from the baseline and won the longer points, with an even share of winners as well as forced and unforced errors from Tsitsipas.

    The match turned as Tsitsipas regained rhythm on his serve and with more free points coming his way, it then allowed him to apply pressure.

    According to Tsitsipas, however, it was far from easy against a tough opponent who is at home on clay.

    "He's fighting. He's a talented player that has a very nice one-handed backhand," he said afterwards. "He knows the game on clay. He has grown up playing these courts. He's definitely a difficult opponent to face in any circumstance, really.

    "Once I really found my momentum on the serve, my routines and everything, I knew that it can be a different match. 

    "I felt like I was serving better than him, creating more opportunities with my serve, pressing more. It would have been kind of not fair from my perspective to have a different outcome."

     

  • French Open: Pressure no problem for Halep as she kicks off Roland Garros campaign with win French Open: Pressure no problem for Halep as she kicks off Roland Garros campaign with win

    Former world number one Simona Halep says she will put "as much pressure as possible" on herself as she seeks French Open glory.

    The 2018 Roland Garros champion came through her first-round clash against 18-year-old lucky loser Nastasja Schunk 6-4 1-6 6-1 on Tuesday.

    Number 19 seed Halep, who is now coached by Serena Williams' former coach Patrick Mouratoglou, has played 42 main-draw matches at the French Open – more than any other player in this year's competition.

    Asked if that experience brings with it more pressure, Halep told a media conference: "Well, hopefully I put as much pressure as possible on myself because I love pressure. It's good to have it and it keeps you focused.

    "Everyone is playing well, so it's a big challenge every match. We are at Grand Slam, so it's always tough. But I'm here to face these challenges, and I'm here to give my best.

    "So, I will focus on myself. I will try to do what I have to do, and that's it. Then we will see.

    "I will think about the next round only, and then if I will win it, I will think about the next one.

    "I don't want to look further than that. It's important to just stay focused and to play the next match."

    Halep will face Zheng Qinwen in the second round after the Chinese player overcame Maryna Zanevska 6-3 6-1 on Monday. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.