Cameron Norrie will take the confidence from his Wimbledon run into a fourth-round meeting with Andrey Rublev at the US Open.
The British number one had fallen five times in the third round of grand slams prior to making it to the semi-finals at the All England Club earlier this summer.
A higher seeding has clearly helped – at seven in New York, Norrie cannot meet a higher-ranked player until the quarter-finals – while having been there before gives an extra shot of belief.
“Especially ticking that box to make the second week for the first time, that was huge for me,” said the 27-year-old, who is yet to drop a set and played his best match so far against Holger Rune in the third round.
“It was a big goal of mine to play well at slams and play deep in slams, and to have these match-ups.
“I think it does help going into the tournament, being ranked where I am, being seeded where I am. Obviously Wimbledon, didn’t get the points there, so maybe I could have been a higher seed anyway.
“But I think it’s great. Coming into these matches, I don’t think I played great my first couple rounds. I was able to feel a lot more relaxed (against Rune) and kind of use that momentum from those matches to get through those tough ones where I didn’t really play great to playing a lot better.”
— LTA (@the_LTA) September 4, 2022
Rublev clearly represents Norrie’s biggest challenge so far. The Russian is a five-time grand slam quarter-finalist and a top-10 stalwart over the last couple of years, although he currently sits just outside.
They have played twice before, with Rublev winning easily in St Petersburg in 2020 but Norrie coming out on top last year in San Diego.
Rublev battled past Denis Shapovalov in five sets on Saturday and Norrie knows he cannot afford to be on the back foot.
“I think I’m going to have to be very proactive and be the one dictating the point as much as I can,” he said. “Obviously there’s going to be times, a lot of times, I’m going to have to defend, but I’m going to have to be aggressive.”
WHAT. A. MATCH.@AndreyRublev97 comes out on top of an incredible battle against Denis Shapovalov in 5️⃣ 👉 6-2 2-6 6-7 6-4 7-6 🔥
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 3, 2022
Rublev, who was once in a One Direction tribute band and went to see Harry Styles in concert twice in New York before the tournament, expects Norrie to make life very difficult.
“Obviously it’s going to be a tough match,” said the 24-year-old. “Especially our last meeting, I lost to him.
“The way he plays, he makes you go for extra shots, to take extra risk. If you take extra risk, normally you miss more. He plays really low, he plays long rallies. He moves really well. It’s going to be long rallies, it’s going to be mental. It’s going to be a really physical match.
“Then it’s going to be smart tennis because, to beat him, you have to play really smart.”
If Norrie can win, he would be the first British man to reach the singles quarter-finals since Andy Murray in 2016, where he could meet Rafael Nadal.