Cameron Norrie thrashes Diego Schwartzman to reach Indian Wells semi-finals and become British No1

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Cameron Norrie will become the new British number one on Monday  (Getty Images)
Cameron Norrie will become the new British number one on Monday (Getty Images)

Cameron Norrie had declared himself ready for war, instead his rise to the British No1 ended in the tamest of surrenders by Diego Schwartzman.

Norrie’s preceding three matches at Indian Well had followed the same pattern – him winning the opening set and losing the second before sealing the decider.

This time, he was barely touchable in a thoroughly one-sided 6-0 6-2 victory which earned him just shy of quarter-of-a-million pounds.

That his ascent to British No1 for the first time in his career should happen against an Argentinian opponent, who had knocked out the countryman he replaced in the top spot, Dan Evans, in an earlier round in California, seemed apt.

“I was ready for an absolute battle today, the last times we have played it has always been a marathon,” said Norrie afterwards. “I was prepared for a war.

“It was probably my biggest match and the biggest win given all the circumstances and the pressures. I was hitting a lot of lines and it’s nice to have had it a bit less stressful today as all my other matches were three sets.

“With Diego, you have to be careful. He’s never going to go away. He’s snuck through a couple of matches this tournament and I thought about them, not letting him back in the match and keeping my feet down. I was able to play some great tennis and free up towards the end.”

Prior to this season, Norrie had been languishing between in the 50 to 100 bracket in the world rankings, struggling to make the next step up.

But a first ATP title as well as now a 45th Tour win of the season – one more than world No1 Novak Djokovic – is a reward for one of the hardest-working and fittest players who has become something of an obdurate brick wall on court.

He has reached five ATP finals in all now and this week has helped advance his chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals in Turin next month.

Looking back on his season to date, he said: “It was such a big moment playing my first Masters quarter-final especially against Diego. This year has been wonderful for me, I’m playing my best tennis. I’ve been really enjoying it and having a lot of fun on tour with my team.”

Norrie now faces Grigor Dimitrov tomorrow for a place in the final.

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