Cameron Norrie came back from behind to topple seed Andrey Rublev, reserving his spot in the ATP San Diego Open final with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
The British No.2 had beaten seeded No.4 Denis Shapovalov in the last eight but was shattered in Game 4 of the semi-final first set as Rublev quickly took the 4-1 advantage. The world number 5 then finished the set 6-3 and seemed to be on track for the final.
Norrie, who won her first ATP Tour title in Los Cabos, Mexico earlier this year, saved three break points in Game 3 of the second set and it turned out to be a turning point. The world number 28 dug to put pressure on Rublev’s serve, shattering the next game after the Russian sent a wide backhand volley.
The Russian started to lose his temper in the California sun, slapping his leg in frustration as Norrie held on, then opened up a 5-2 lead. Rublev saved two set points in the next game, but couldn’t convert either of his two break points as Norrie served the set.
An early break and hold in the decider saw Norrie take the advantage 3-1, then climb to the edge of victory at 5-3. Rublev retired one game but couldn’t deny Norrie a hard-earned victory. He will face either Grigor Dimitrov or Casper Ruud, who knocked out Andy Murray in the second round.
“What an incredible game,” Norrie told Amazon Prime Video afterward. “All credit to Andrey because he came out shooting and played some big tennis at the start and then I got through the storm.
“It’s such a big win for me, I’m good friends with Andrey so it’s not easy to play against him,” added Norrie after reaching his fifth final in 2021. “It’s definitely a game. which I will remember for a long time.I will try to rest to prepare myself [for the final], the tournament is really tough.
Currently 28th in the career world, Norrie is six places behind Dan Evans, whom he beat in the second round in California. The 26-year-old is expected to close the gap again next week as he tries to become Britain’s No.1 for the first time in his career.