To kick off quarter-finals Friday at the Millennium Estoril Open, Cameron Norrie picked up his fifth Top-30 win of the season with an upset of Cristian Garin. In two hours and 28 minutes, the Brit battled past the World No. 22-ranked Chilean 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
With a clutch break of serve at 6-5 in the second set, Norrie took control of the momentum and he had a chance to close it out at 5-2 in the third set. He’d serve it out at love in the next game.
“Garin is always so tough on the clay and I think [it’s] one of my best wins ever on the clay,” Norrie said on-court. “It was a battle. He came out a bit sharper than me. I managed to play a good return game in the second set to break there and held my nerve and played some of my best tennis of the week at the 3-2, 4-2 games."
World No. 50 Norrie has been in excellent form as Friday marked his fourth quarter-final appearance of the year. Garin, a five-time ATP champion on clay, won the crown in Santiago earlier this season. The last time the two had played each other on clay was at Roland Garros in 2013 in the junior draw (Garin won that bout).
Norrie will meet Marin Cilic in the semi-finals Saturday after the Croatian’s highly anticipated clash with Kevin Anderson ended abruptly. Clic had captured the first set 7-6(7) when the South African was forced to retire with a left adductor injury.
Cilic entered the showdown with a 6-1 lead in their ATP Head2Head Series. Though very familiar with each other, the two former Top 5 stars hadn’t faced off since 2017 and hadn’t played a complete match since Cilic beat Anderson on his way to the 2014 US Open title.
The sixth seed just squeaked out the tie-break, saving a set point before converting on his second opportunity with a big first serve. At the changeover, Anderson, who has been dealing with injuries for more than a year, decided to retire. The two-time Grand Slam finalist is currently ranked No. 105. Heading into this week, he had played just three events this year, going 2-3.
Cilic will play his second semi-final of 2021 as he continues the pursuit for his first title since 2018.
At the top of the ATP 250 draw, Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat Corentin Moutet 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 48 minutes to reach the semi-finals. Moutet was looking to back up his biggest career win over top seed Denis Shapovalov but a disciplined Ramos-Vinolas was just too strong from start to finish.
Moutet saved three match points at 5-3 before Ramos-Vinolas converted on his fourth chance with a forehand approach-shot winner. The Spaniard improves to 48-27 against fellow left-handers.“Today, I think it was really difficult to play with the conditions, with the wind,” Ramos-Vinolas said on court. “He [plays] special with no rhythm, changing [the pace] a lot with drop shots. A lefty also, so I think it’s always really difficult to play against him.”
The 33-year-old now leads the ATP Head2Head Series 2-1 against Moutet and will play his fourth semi-final of the year (all on clay) against eighth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
In the final quarter-final of the day, Davidovich Fokina topped third seed Ugo Humbert 6-4, 6-4 in their first ATP Tour level meeting.
The 21-year-old has been steadily ascending the ATP Rankings since entering the Top 200 in 2019. He began the week in Estoril at a career-high ranking of No. 48 on the heels of a quarter-final run in Monte-Carlo and is the youngest Spaniard inside of the Top 50.