Fine margins cost Norrie on south coast

Cameron Norrie narrowly lost 7-6 (9) 6-3 against Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori

Cameron Norrie at the LTA's Rothesay International Eastbourne (Kate Green/Getty Images for LTA)
Cameron Norrie at the LTA's Rothesay International Eastbourne (Kate Green/Getty Images for LTA)

Fine margins cost Cameron Norrie at the LTA’s Rothesay International after the Brit lost in the opening round in Eastbourne.

Facing Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori in his opener, the 28-year-old narrowly lost the first set which went to a tie-break before falling again in the second for an overall 7-6 (9) 6-3 defeat.

Following a first-round exit at the Queen’s Club last week against big-serving Milos Raonic, Norrie was looking to bounce back on the south coast.

But, against another strong opponent, a tough first-round tie proved too much for the world No. 44.

Norrie, whose father hails from Glasgow, failed to capitalise on two break points in the sixth game of the opening set and was subsequently unable to seize a pair of set points in the tie-break.

Last week, he was confirmed for the Wimbledon main draw alongside Jack Draper, who defeated Carlos Alcaraz at the LTA’s cinch Championships.

Norrie was knocked off the British No.1 spot by Draper, who had won his first ATP Tour event in Stuttgart the previous week.

After fashioning an Atalanta football shirt for morning practice, Liam Broady lost out to Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, 6-3 6-4.

Broady was back on the grass court following a concussion which saw him miss the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham earlier in the month.

The Eastbourne wild card also lost in doubles alongside Billy Harris to USA pair Austin Krajicek and Mackenzie McDonald in straight sets.

Elsewhere, in the women’s singles, Emma Raducanu lauded her patience on the grass after she cruised through to the second round.

The 21-year-old wild card took the first set 6-4 against another former US Open champion, in Sloane Stephens, before securing an emphatic victory with a 6-0 win in the second.

The former British No. 1 is currently ranked 168th in the world following time off court through wrist and ankle operations last year.

The Bromley ace enjoyed an encouraging run to the semi-finals of the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham and insists she has found her spark on the surface.

She said: “For me, it was a case of adapting to the court, I’ve never played in Eastbourne, I've never played on this Centre Court.

“Every court plays a little bit differently and, in the beginning, I was just figuring out which is the best way for me to play and use my game.

“It was a very close first set and I was down quite a bit and managed to break but it was difficult because Sloane is super athletic and in the first set especially she was making a lot of balls.

“It took a lot to try and hit through her and I think I managed to figure it out in the second set.”

British No.1 Katie Boulter felt a sense of relief as she got the better of her 2023 conqueror in the opening round.

Boulter pushed past Petra Martic in straight sets although the Croatian, who knocked the Brit out in the same round last year, did not make it easy for the Leicester player.

The 27-year-old took a 6-1 7-6 (8) win after digging deep in the tie-break to motor through to the second round.

British No. 4 Lily Miyazaki fell to a first-round defeat at the hands of Belgium’s Elise Mertens, dropping out of the draw following a 6-1 6-2 loss.

Last week, Miyazaki was awarded a Wimbledon doubles wild card alongside Emily Appleton after the pair teamed up together for the first time in more than a year this season.

Fresh from a marathon-match win on Monday, Harriet Dart joined Maia Lumsden for the first round of women’s doubles.

The pair advanced with a 7-5 6-4 win against third seeds Demi Schuurs and Luisa Stefani which provided perfect Wimbledon preparation after the duo also received a wild card for SW19.

And Giles Hussey revelled in the biggest win of his career on the south coast after downing No.6 seed and world No.32 Mariano Navone in straight sets, 6-4 6-2, after entering the main draw as a lucky loser.

The Dorset player found out he was in the first round less than an hour before he took to the court.

Hussey will face Italian Flavio Cobolli in the second round and joins Billy Harris and Charles Broom who meet each other in the last 16.

In the late matches, lucky loser and last year’s Wimbledon boy’s winner Henry Searle was denied a shot at the last 16 while Queen’s doubles champions Neal Skupski and Michael Venus cruised through to the quarter-final.

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