Britain’s number 1, Cameron Norrie on Sunday night produced an unforgettable performance to dismiss Georgian counterpart, Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets to claim the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells).
Cameron Norrie, who says he is in disbelief after becoming the first British tennis player to win in California clinched his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells on Sunday evening.
The 26-year-old started the year well outside the top 50 in the ATP FedEx rankings, moving from No.74 in the world through a rich vein of form that saw him become British number 1 and number 26 in the world prior to Indian Wells.
Despite drawing first blood by breaking first in the third game of the first set, Norrie immediately relinquished an early advantage after Basilashvili broke two successive service games and closed out the first set 3-6.
The hard hitting Georgian continued his impressive ball-striking that saw him dismiss top seeds en route the final, but the second set stayed on serve until Norrie finally found a break in the tenth game and served out the set 6-4.
The third set was much more straight-forward as the Brit raced to a 6-1 win to become the first ever Brit to win in the California desert.
Norrie also became the first player ranked outside the top 25 to win Indian Wells in almost 15 years.
Norrie, who started the year ranked 74 in the ATP FedEx rankings has now risen to a career high No.16 in the world rankings and sits comfortable in 10th place in the qualification quest for the season-ending ATP Finals slated to hold in Turin later this year.
The British number 1, who earned a massive £880,000 ( $1,207,448) for his victory at Indian Wells was in disbelief that he came through the last hurdle, especially given the pre-match ordeal that saw him misplace his tennis shoes shortly before the final match.
“What an incredible week I’ve had here. If you had told me I would have won before the tournament started, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Norrie said after the match.
“I’m so happy with how I treated all the occasions, all the big moments and all the matches. I’m so pleased to win my biggest title.”
Speaking on misplacing his tennis shoes before the final match, Norrie said: “Every day I left my shoes on top of the locker. I think maybe someone from the cleaners last night came through and they threw the three pairs of shoes that I had away.”
“I looked all day. I had everyone looking. I don’t know what the people have against the Brits with stealing the shoes, but I didn’t manage to get them back.”
“I just had to go out there with a fresh pair of shoes. It was just difficult. Luckily I didn’t have a wedding ring attached. I didn’t lose that, so it was a bonus for me.”
“I’ve been really enjoying my tennis and been enjoying being out on court and competing in the big moments.”
“I’m just really pleased with how I handled the occasion. I think I’m doing a lot better with that this year. I lost a lot of those finals, so it’s nice to get the big one today.”
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