Cameron Norrie takes Casper Ruud to three sets on debut before the Norwegian prevails; Novak Djokovic secures a semi-final place; world No 1 will play Norrie on Friday while Andrey Rublev and Ruud meet in what amounts to a straight shootout for the last semi-final place
Last Updated: 18/11/21 9:52am
Cameron Norrie was beaten by Casper Ruud on his ATP Finals debut after replacing the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The British No 1 was unable to take advantage of his unexpected chance, losing 1-6 6-3 6-4 to Casper Ruud to end his slim hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
Norrie could not have made a better start after stepping into Tsitsipas’ shoes after the Greek decided to withdraw due to an ongoing elbow problem, but Ruud fought back to set up a winner-takes-all clash against Andrey Rublev on Friday.
Two alternates have made it into the tournament for the first time since 1998, and Norrie was hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jannik Sinner, who seized his chance impressively on Tuesday after replacing fellow Italian Matteo Berrettini.
Norrie certainly could not have done any more in the opening set, but a wayward end to the second proved the turning point and eighth seed Ruud was the better player in the decider.
The 26-year-old, ranked 12th in the world, relished the experience, saying: “This week has been incredible for me so far. I have had a lot of training. Basically, I was using it as a training block towards heading into the Davis Cup.
“Obviously a bonus to get a couple of matches in there, and obviously a lot to play for. Huge for the experience, as well. I really enjoyed every second out there.
“I was feeling good in practice, and I have been doing a lot of gym throughout the week. I was ready to play and compete. I came out firing and loved the match.
“It just came down to a couple of games in the second and third. I donated my serve twice, and then he played very clean on his serve throughout the last two sets. But I was really happy with my level, and especially with not playing too many points throughout the last couple weeks.”
Norrie, who began the match with an outside chance of making the semi-finals, will now take on Novak Djokovic in his final match on Friday.
It will be a first meeting for Norrie against the world No 1 and, although it is a dead rubber, there is still 200 ranking points and more than £120,000 on the line.
Djokovic, who is chasing a record-equalling sixth title, booked his place in the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Rublev.
Djokovic praised Norrie ahead of their meeting, saying: “Even though he got in as a second alternate, it’s not undeserved. He had a fantastic year, winning Indian Wells and being one of the most consistent players on the tour. He definitely deserves to be playing in Turin.
“The good thing is that I qualified for the semi-finals, so I won’t have that much pressure to win the match, last match of the group, but obviously every match matters, so I will go with the intention to win.”
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