Norrie channels ‘underdog’ status to power past Draper at Wimbledon

Cameron Norrie believes his ‘underdog’ status fired him to a stunning straight sets victory against British No.1 Jack Draper at Wimbledon.

Norrie, the current world No.42, blew the in-form 28th seed away on Court 1 as a 7-6 (3) 6-4 7-6 (6) triumph booked his place in the third round.

The experienced 28-year-old was the No.12 seed this time last year but has fallen down the rankings after an injury-hit few months.

And that has helped propel Draper, 22, to the summit of the British standings and emerge as the man to beat on grass this season.

Draper stunned reigning SW19 champion Carlos Alcaraz at Queen’s before battling past Swede Elias Ymer in five sets in his opening encounter earlier this week.

But he was unable to beat British No.2 Norrie – who breezed past Argentine Facundo Diaz Acosta in his first round match – in the last 64 as the 2022 All England Club semi-finalist refound his fluent best on a court he adores.

Norrie has a strong record on Court 1 and reckons a more relaxed mindset held the key to his success.

“I felt like I was a bit of the underdog coming in, so I was pretty relaxed to be honest,” said Norrie, who will meet either fourth seed Alexander Zverev or Marcos Giron in the third round.

“It wasn’t easy coming out here today to play Jack, he’s been playing so well and we’re such good friends off the court as well.

“But I put that aside today, I was happy with my play and it was really physical.

“I’m feeling really good physically – I just wanted to keep trusting my movement and keep trusting my legs.

“I knew I put I some really good practice and I had the level there and it was nice to use my experience against Jack.

“It was not an easy match but I really enjoyed it – it was a bit nervy towards the end in that tie-break, but I managed to stay calm and get it done.

“I just love Court 1 – it’s a special court for me.”

The British duo traded blows throughout the first set before Norrie, whose return of serve remained a potent weapon throughout, pulled away to win the decisive tie-break.

He broke in the second to put himself on the brink of the last 32 and while Draper took him to a nerve-jangling tie-break in the third, Norrie held it together to edge over the line.

Draper, who won his maiden ATP title in Stuttgart earlier this season, will now turn his attention to the Paris Olympics at Roland-Garros after a promising grass-court season ended in SW19.

He said: “It’s obviously a really, really tough loss – you want to do so well.

“To go out in the second round, you feel like you’ve let yourself down – it’s difficult.

“I’m definitely going to take a few days off, then go on the clay at the National Tennis Centre and get ready to go to the Olympics, which will be a new challenge.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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