Cameron Norrie kept himself in contention to win a spot at the ATP Finals as he coolly navigated a second round match at the Rolex Paris Masters, beating Reilly Opelka of the US 6-3, 6-4.
Norrie’s victory takes him into the last 16 in Paris and brings him another milestone in what has been a monumental season for the Indian Wells champion, who rose to a new career high of 13th this week. He has now won 50 ATP matches this year, a feat only achieved by two other British players, Andy Murray and Tim Henman, this century. Before this year, he had 51 wins in his entire career.
“I managed to put some returns in at the right times and managed to chip on my forehand,” said Norrie. “But more, I was just happy to get through at the end. It was tricky.”
Opelka, ranked 25th, has also significantly improved this year and he reached the top 20 in September by pairing notable athleticism with his big serve. Norrie remained typically patient throughout, his blocked returns allowing him to consistently enter points on Opelka’s serve, and he kept Opelka on the move. He took a solitary break of serve in the first set after a great return game at 4-3, then recovered from a break down in the second set to win.
Norrie next faces the in-form American Taylor Fritz, the world No 28. Fritz defeated fifth seed Andrey Rublev 7-5, 7-6 (2) to clinch his third top 10 win of the past month. Should Norrie overcome Fritz, a familiar opponent against whom Norrie holds a 4-3 record, he could face the world No 1, Novak Djokovic, in the quarter-final.
Two spots remain for the ATP finals and four players are well positioned to make the final eight. Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz, who are now seventh and eighth in the live race, have both already reached the round of 16 in Paris. Jannik Sinner, however, lost to 18 year-old Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday. Norrie remains below Sinner in 10th place, 90 points from Hurkacz.
Elsewhere, Dominic Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion, has announced he will return to competition at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this December, ahead of the Australian Open. Thiem has been sidelined since June with a wrist injury. Rafael Nadal, who has not competed since the French Open due to a chronic foot problem, also intends to return to competition in Abu Dhabi.