cinch Championships 2021: Norrie and Berrettini to face off in Queen’s Club final
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Cam Norrie became the first British player since 2002 not named Murray to reach the final of the cinch Championships after a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov at The Queen’s Club.
The British No.2 reached his third ATP Tour final of the year with an exceptional display against Canada’s Shapovalov and will face top seed Matteo Berrettini in tomorrow’s singles final.
Norrie, who now has 29 victories on the ATP Tour this season, made a sluggish start by hitting two unforced errors and a double fault to lose his first service game.
The 25-year-old didn’t take long to strike back, though, as he earned three break points with Shapovalov up 3-2 – but he only needed one as he levelled the match 3-3.
The pair continued to stay on serve before Norrie clinched the opening set right at the death – a sublime backhand pass sealed his second break of the contest as he took the set 7-5.
In the second set Norrie kept applying the pressure on the second seed. The Brit had chances to break his opponent – particularly when leading 3-2 when a whipped Norrie forehand winner set up a break, only for Shapovalov to respond with his own well-crafted forehand winner, followed by a roar to the crowd.
In the end there was no stopping the British No.2 – who broke his opponent with back-to-back winners to go 5-3 up before serving out for the match for his 15th win over a higher-ranked player this year.
“It hasn’t really sunk in,” said Norrie. “I think I played very, very well today and was really clutch on the big points. I’m so pleased to be through to the final here – I can’t really describe it.
“It’s a huge tournament for me, and one of my biggest achievements so far, so let’s see if I can go one step further tomorrow. Thanks to the crowd for coming out to support me! It really helped me to get over the line there.
“Matteo is one of the best players on the Tour at the moment. He’s got a good forehand and likes the drop shots, so maybe I’ll have a chat to Evo and Andy and will see if they have any tips for me."
Joining him in the final is Berrettini, who beat Australia’s Alex De Minaur 6-4, 6-4 in their semi-final clash.
The Italian World No.9 has been in ominous form on the grass of The Queen’s Club, and he now hasn’t been broken in three matches against top quality opposition including Dan Evans, Andy Murray and De Minaur.
Berrettini made a fast start on Centre Court, breaking the fourth seed’s serve with a backhand winner down the line to lead 2-1.
The Italian dictated with his powerful forehand but while he managed to close out the set, de Minaur grew into the match and did have one break opportunity when 3-2 up in the second set.
But Berrettini extinguished any hopes of a break with a characteristically powerful wide serve – which De Minaur could only parry into the net.
With the second set finely poised at 4-4 Berrettini played an outstanding backhand lob to set the tone for the rest of the game, and although De Minaur saved four break points the Italian proved too strong claiming the break – before going on to serve out for the match.
“The goal was to make the final, now I have one more step,” he said. “To make the final is a great achievement – especially given the history of this tournament – and I am really happy to beat Alex today as I had to play my best tennis.
“My mentality is that I think I can always win on my serve. The other guys are great – Alex today had some break points – but I know that I have a big weapon with my serve and I’m really confident. I know that I can lose it, but I try my best not to!
“If I sleep too well tonight I’ll know something is off! I have to be nervous, I have to be tired a little bit otherwise the adrenaline doesn’t kick in. I just hope that I’m going to sleep enough.”