Australian Open 2024: Cam Norrie leads the British charge into round three as Emma Raducanu, Katie Boulter & Jack Draper lose close matches
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Cam Norrie will fly the flag for Great Britain in the third round of the singles draws at the Australian Open this year, having come from two sets down to be Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri.
Fighting back against his opponent and tricky weather conditions, Norrie managed to seal a gusty victory against Zeppieri 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 29 minutes.
It was the third time in his career that Norrie has come back from 2-0 down to win the match (Davis Cup 2018 vs Roberto Bautista Agut; US Open 2020 vs Diego Schwartzman).
Norrie faces a difficult task in the third round against world No.11 Casper Ruud, who also had to battle through a five-set thriller against Australian Max Purcell.
Boulter lost out to 12th seed Qinwen Zheng 6-3, 6-3, while Draper was unable to replicate last week’s win against world No.14 Tommy Paul, losing 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to the 2023 semi-finalist.
Raducanu managed to fight off illness during the deciding third set against Yafan Wang but eventually lost to the Chinese star 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in just under three hours.
Rain delays after two sets played into Norrie’s hand as the British No.1 found a way to settle himself and use his experience to break the Italian at key moments at the start and the end of each of the last three sets.
“He came out firing and basically took the racket out of my hand for the first hour and a half, I was really flat,” Norrie said. I wasn’t moving, wasn't playing clear, wasn't thinking clearly.
“I just managed to rise the energy a little bit and he dropped slightly. I think when the first rain delay came, I just felt a little bit more calmer coming out to court. I got a chance to chat with my coach and change the game plan a little bit, to play a little bit more to the backhand side. I was really pleased more mentally how I managed to switch it around.”
Norrie came into the tournament with a slight issue with his wrist and during the match, called upon the trainer after experiencing some pain in his knee.
“I don't think the knee was anything,” he said. “I think I just was a bit more precautionary just to see if I could play through – it was nothing. I think it was probably just being very tense from the match.
“I have to make sure I warm up really well. Once the wrist is warm, then I'm not feeling it. I think it's just trying to stay warm and play and not think about it.”
Norrie and Ruud have played each other three times before, with the Norwegian having won on all three occasions. The two have never met in a Grand Slam.
“He's beaten me a few times in some really big matches.,” Norrie conceded. “I'm going to look at those matches and see where I can improve. I think a lot of the time it was down to execution and him staying a bit more calmer than me in the bigger moments. Every time I played him, he served really, really well. I think his serve is quite underrated.”
Raducanu pulled off an impressive 45 winners against Wang and managed to come back from a break down in the second to level the match. The young Brit however admitted to 'throwing up in her mouth' during a pivotal period in the decider and despite fighting hard to get back into contention, her opponent eventually came out on top.
"I feel a little bit better," she said after the loss. "During the match, I'd say, like, third set I
was 30-0 up serving. Then all of a sudden just felt so sick, just really like weak and nauseous.
"Physically, body-wise, I felt fine. It was more I was throwing up in my mouth. Now I'm okay. It just sucks with the timing.
"I'm very positive, very happy with how my body is. I think if I keep my work consistent, I have a good shot. I need to spend more time on tour, spend more time training, and putting good weeks together. I'm feeling very positive. I really just want to play a full season."
Boulter had the chance to serve for a 4-2 lead in the second set, but a solid all round performance from Zheng helped push the world No.15 over the line after a 17 minute closing game.
“I did everything to the best that I could,” Boulter said. “I felt like it was really tricky out there. She just played better than me today.
“For me it's about week in, week out playing these girls, trying to get big wins against the best players in the world. I gave myself opportunities to do that this week.
“It’s a massive step in the right direction. I'm going to keep working very, very hard. I know my game is there, it just wasn’t today.”
Despite the disappointment of losing out in the second round at the Australian Open, Draper is taking plenty of positives from his experience in Melbourne.
“I think maybe I was a little bit off how I can play, and he played a really good level,” he said. “Physically, if it had gone to five sets, I would be feeling great, ready to play. That's one big positive I can take from obviously the first slam of the year.”
“There's a lot of events, a lot of opportunities to play and do well. I feel fit. I'm ready to keep going. I'm very motivated to keep getting better.
During their press conferences, the Brits all paid tribute to Daily Mail Tennis Correspondent Mike Dickson, who sadly passed away yesterday in Melbourne.
Australian Open Britwatch
From juniors to wheelchair draws - track all the Brits' results and draws from this year's Australian Open.