Cameron Norrie’s ATP Finals hopes dented by Paris Masters defeat to Fritz

Cameron Norrie is unlikely to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin after he bowed out of the Paris Masters in the third round, losing 6-3, 7-6 (2) to Taylor Fritz of the United States in an intense two-set tussle.

Earlier in the day, Hubert Hurkacz, who currently sits eighth in the ATP Race to Turin, recovered from a set down to beat Dominik Koepfer 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 and reach the quarter-final in Paris. His victory meant that Norrie had to defeat Fritz to maintain a decent chance of qualification, which he was unable to do. Hurkacz can now officially secure his place in the ATP Finals, and rule Norrie out, if he wins his next match against Australia’s James Duckworth, the world No 55.

Thursday afternoon’s match on Center Court pitted Norrie against another of the most improved players of the year. Fritz, the world No 26, is in the midst of a blinding season-ending run and had dispatched Andrey Rublev, the fifth seed, in straight sets in the previous round. He started in similar form, serving seamlessly before taking advantage of a loose Norrie service game at 3-2 to clinch the set. Even as Fritz remained in control of the baseline for much of the second set, Norrie was typically tough and he recovered from a 4-4, 0-30 deficit to generate two set points at 5-4, 15-40 on Fritz’s serve.

Throughout the season many players would have buckled against Norrie in such a position, but Fritz saved the first set point with an enormous unreturned serve and then he struck a thumping forehand winner on the second. After scuppering Norrie’s biggest opportunities in the match, Fritz’s serve flowed, he dictated once more and he convincingly took the tiebreak to win the match.

Another consequence of Norrie’s defeat is that he misses out on a first career meeting with Novak Djokovic, the world No 1, who will now face Fritz in the quarter-final. Djokovic advanced on Thursday after Gaël Monfils was forced to withdraw from his home tournament with an adductor injury.

Norrie will now head to the Stockholm Open, which will likely mark the end of his breakthrough season. He has also guaranteed himself one of the two alternate spots in Turin, an event in which withdrawals or retirements are not uncommon at the end of a long, bruising year. Norrie has not yet committed to attending as an alternate but after his second-round win he said he would find it “difficult” to do so after chasing an official spot.

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