Cameron Norrie stayed on track to win his “home” ATP Tour event by beating American Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2 in the ASB Classic quarterfinals on Thursday.
Norrie was born in South Africa but grew up in Auckland and was a regular spectator at the ATP event before his family moved to Britain. He was warmly supported by the crowd on center court when his quarterfinal finally began two-and-a-half hours late because of rain.
He thrilled the fans by racing through the first set, breaking Giron’s serve in the first, fifth and seventh games. But his first serve, which was reliable in the first set, became a little less so in the second and at the start of the third.
Giron broke Norrie in the first game of the second set but Norrie recovered the break in the fourth game. The set then went with serve until the tiebreaker in which Giron took the lead with a vital mini break on the ninth point.
“This tournament is kind of a second home for me,” Norrie said. “I grew up here, coming from Bucklands Beach Tennis Club (in suburban Auckland), and its good to be back. Playing here is very special. I was a fan at this tournament so it’s great to be playing on this court.”
Giron reached the quarterfinals with tight wins over Federico Coria and compatriot J. J. Wolf. He troubled Norrie at times with his return of serve and persistence from the back of the court.
“I kind of made it difficult for myself in that second set,” Norrie said. “I lost my serve and played a loose game in the first game of the second. He hung fast and played a really good tiebreak. But I managed to reset and play kind of similar to my first set level. I gave him nothing and served a lot better.”
Norrie is the last surviving seed. Top-seeded Casper Ruud was beaten in the second round on Wednesday.
Norrie’s semifinal opponent will be another American, Jenson Brooksby, who beat Quentin Halys of France 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2). On the other side of the draw, Richard Gasquet beat David Goffin 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.