British No1 Cameron Norrie may be featuring in the fourth round of the US Open for the first time today, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that he could find himself in the quarter-finals come tonight’s close of play.
The 27-year-old Brit faces Russia’s Andrey Rublev this evening on the Louis Armstrong court for a place in the last eight against either American Frances Tiafoe or 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.
Norrie is the last Briton standing at Flushing Meadows and is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament – his opening round saw him wrap up a straight sets win against Benoit Paire in just over 90 minutes.
Norrie dismissed Joao Sousa, again in straight sets, in the second round before completing a third three-set win against up-and-coming Holger Rune.
He has, then, had a pretty smooth run through to the last 32 in New York and has backed up his semi-final at Wimbledon with a great start across the pond.
Like his run to the last four at the All England Club, however, Norrie has found himself almost neglected by organisers – something he’s clearly unbothered by.
In south west London Norrie’s run to the last four saw him start his campaign on the outer courts of the SW19 site. At Flushing Meadows he began on courts 11 and 12 before his third round on the Grandstand court, the third biggest on the site.
Despite being a seeded player and British No1, Norrie tends to fly under the radar in the early rounds of a Slam, and it’s proved a handy trait.
Though it will be Norrie’s first appearance in the fourth round, his opponent Rublev has been here before – in both 2017 and 2020 he went one step further and into the quarter-finals.
Rublev is a fiery young Russian with 11 ATP singles titles and even a mixed doubles Olympic gold medal.
The 24-year-old reached the French Open last four this year and was part of the successful Russian Davis Cup team last year in Madrid.
But he has had to fight for the right to play Norrie this year having been on court for over nine hours for his three wins – in comparison to just over six from the Brit.
Rublev toppled Laslo Djere in a first round five set thriller before easing past South Korean Soonwoo Kwon in straight sets.
In the third round, against Denis Shapovalov, Rublev was taken to yet another deciding set; he has spent a lot of time on the courts during the last week.
“It is nice to be through in straight sets and not really playing my best tennis leading into it,” Norrie said after his third round win.
“I felt I definitely improved from my previous matches and I managed to stay way calmer than he was in the bigger moments.
“Ticking that box to make the second week for the first time was huge for me. It was a big goal of mine to play well at Slams and play deep in Slams and to have these match-ups.”
Norrie’s hard work on the ATP circuit, including a big win in 2021 at Indian Wells, has allowed him to quietly rise up the rankings – he is currently ninth – and earn seeded spots in major draws.
The benefit of that mainly lies in easier earlier round ties during the Slams; 11th ranked Rublev will be his highest seeded match so far at Flushing Meadows.
Norrie has again snuck his way into the second week of a Slam, but his clash with Rublev today will be his biggest in the States so far, because if it is Nadal who will meet the winner of this tie, there will be nowhere to hide.