Cameron Norrie earns place among Wimbledon royalty with epic fightback against David Goffin

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·4-min read
Cameron Norrie earns place among Wimbledon royalty with epic fightback against David Goffin
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As Government resignations came thick and fast during his time on Court No1, Cameron Norrie simply refused to throw in the towel.

And with it the Wimbledon crowd had a new home favourite now into the semi-finals against a player in Novak Djokovic who has not lost at Wimbledon for five years.

It had all the rollercoaster nature of your typical SW19 Andy Murray late-night thriller, Norrie showing the characteristic fight which has seen him rise into the upper echelons of men’s tennis to win 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Wimbledon 2022 | Cameron Norrie

Against David Goffin, he started flat but hung on for a thrilling denouement, which was a case of who blinks first. To the delight of the home crowd, it was Goffin doing the blinking.

Norrie had pleaded with that crowd to get behind him as the last Brit standing in the singles, and they duly obliged.

On Court No1 and on Henman Hill – no, Norrie Knoll - just behind they did their level best to cheer and cajole him to his place in the semi-finals.

But neither that nor royal approval from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who vacated the Royal Box on Centre Court to watch Norrie alongside Tim Henman, could initially help him find a way past.

Another British No1, Greg Rusedski, had suggested Norrie could run all day against Goffin. The running wasn’t the problem – he covered well in excess of four kilometres during the match. His second serve lack any sort of penetration – winning just 47 per cent of points on it, too often his drop shots opened the way for an easy Goffin winner and he hit 46 unforced errors.

But crucially those errors receded as the match wore on and Norrie’s superior fitness, not to mention the crowd, pushed him into the last four.

He started the match the better of the two, the greater aggressor in the opening four games and seeming the likelier to break. But it was the Briton who faced a first break point and, when his crosscourt forehand went wide, he was a break down he couldn't claw back.

The Duchess of Cambridge alongside Tim Henman in the stands on court one watch the Gentlemen’s Singles quarter-final match between Cameron Norrie and David Goffin. (PA) (PA Wire)
The Duchess of Cambridge alongside Tim Henman in the stands on court one watch the Gentlemen’s Singles quarter-final match between Cameron Norrie and David Goffin. (PA) (PA Wire)

The second set began as the first had ended with Norrie under pressure. Pushed to another break point in his opening service game, he did well to get it back to deuce in a tight, lengthy rally and let out a cry of “Come on” and a fist pump when he held.

The crowd responded with cries of their own but their man still struggled to settle. In two successive service games starting at 2-2, he found himself 0-40 down. The first time, he nullified it with a rare approach to the net. At the second time 0-40 down, a poor drop shot was despatched by Goffin.

Undeterred, Norrie continued to push his opponent and broke straight back. With Goffin off the pace for the first time in the match, the British No1 broke again to take the set and level the match, leading to roars from within No1 and on the neighbouring hill.

Any sense it might prove a turning point were unwarranted as Norrie was broken immediately at the start of the next set and, in a matter of moments, found himself 4-0 down in a set in which he never recovered.

Cameron Norrie celebrates during his Gentlemen’s Singles quarter-final match against David Goffin (PA) (PA Wire)
Cameron Norrie celebrates during his Gentlemen’s Singles quarter-final match against David Goffin (PA) (PA Wire)

The match turned at game eight in the fourth set, Norrie challenging a first serve which had been called out and given Goffin the game. That ruling was overturned and Norrie eventually broke before serving out the set.

The deciding set hung on a knife edge. When Norrie broke to go 6-5, it felt like a done deal but his rival forced him to deuce before the Briton sealed it when Goffin found the net.

Afterwards, he said: “Honestly, I’m speechless. I can’t even talk. I’m so happy to get through. It wasn’t going my way from the beginning. That was all credit to David. Thanks to you guys I managed to stay as patient as I could. It was great to get over the line. Just winning a match like this… it feels pretty good.”

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