Australian Open 2024: Cam Norrie loses out to sixth seed Alexander Zverev in five set epic
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Cam Norrie has exited the Australian Open in the fourth round having lost out to sixth seed Alexander Zverev in a five-set thriller.
Norrie came back from a set down twice in the match but after over four hours on court, it was the German who prevailed 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(10-3).
The 28-year-old was looking to become the seventh British man to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne, having made the fourth round for the first time in his career.
"I think it was a good match," he said in his post-match press conference. "I really enjoyed it, again. He was just a bit more solid than me in the end and served a bit better down the stretch.
"Sascha is probably one of the best players in the world at the moment, and playing close with him somewhat deep in a Grand Slam, losing in five sets, a few points in it, I think it's exactly where I want to be.
The British No.1 will leave Melbourne Park with great confidence, coming away with a second comeback win from two sets down in round two and clinching his best Grand Slam win by ranking over 11th seed Casper Ruud in the third round.
"I think there's still lots to come," Norrie said. "I'm still 28-years-old. I think you look at the longevity of the other players playing now, I think they're getting better. I just want to keep learning and keep pushing and keep improving.
"I learned a lot last year and the years before. I know I've got the top 10 level in me.
"I want to just keep kind of taking steps towards that, and yeah, I'm having fun playing."
Norrie came into the match having never won a set against the Olympic champion in each of their previous four meetings. It looked like it might be business as usual for the German as he broke at 5-5 in the opener before going on to hold a set and a break lead in the second.
Trailing against the world No.6 gave Norrie the freedom to loosen up, which seemed to kick the British No.1 up a gear. Norrie started to show the aggression that saw him defeat world No.11 Ruud in the previous round – coming forward onto the ball and taking his chances early in the rallies.
Not only did the Brit get back on level terms from 2-3 down, but he stretched 5-3 ahead before saving four break points to serve out the set – with a little help from the net cord on his second set point.
After a brief dip in level, Zverev soon found himself back on top – often overpowering the Brit from the baseline. The sixth seed reeled off 12/14 points midway through the set to put himself 4-1 in front.
Despite a short break due to a protest on the Margaret Court Arena, Zverev kept his composure and quickly regained his one set advantage.
Going behind only seemed to invigorate Norrie once again as the British No.1 ramped up the intensity. Despite missing out on two break points earlier in the set, Norrie continued to make life difficult for the world No.6 and finally got his reward. Leading 5-4 he forced Zverev into to crucial mistakes before finishing his third break point with a pinpoint drop shot.
Zverev just couldn’t find a way to put the Brit to bed. After breaking in the first game of the decider, Norrie came straight back and then found a way back from facing three break points to push Zverev to a deciding match tie-break.
The former US Open finalist has been unbeaten in four tie-breaks during the Australian Open and came out on top once again. Two slightly wayward drop shots and a double fault from Norrie gave Zverev the platform he needed to power through to victory.