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Cameron Norrie moves to the second round of the French Open after a five-set win over Benoit Paire in over 3 and a half hours of action.
The best-ranked British player found himself 2-1 down against the Frenchman who received a wildcard and then took his game to another level for a final 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win.
Norrie started well by winning the opener 7-5 after saving five break-back points. Paire didn’t back down and with the support of the home crowd, he maned to turn things around and take the lead after three sets. Norrie responded in the right way cruising in the fourth set in just 26 minutes. Paire started the decisive set with a break but Norrie managed to bounce back and win at the end.
The world no. 13 made 62% of both first and second serves and saved 14 of 20 break points. Paire hit 32 more winners and 11 more aces, winning 80% of the points on his first serve. Norrie was aware that the Frenchman is vulnerable on his second serve and converted on 65% of those points. This was Norrie’s third win against Paire and the first time the Frenchman won a set.
Norrie will face another home player in the second round, Lucas Pouille. The 29-year-old is a former top 10 player who currently sits in 675th place in the ATP rankings. Pouille has played only 42 matches in the previous three years after reaching the Australian Open semifinals in 2019. In the opening round of the French Open, Pouille won 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 against Jurij Rodionov which was the second match in just a couple of days, after they met in the last qualifying round.
This will be the third match between Norrie and Pouille and both have won one of the previous two. Norrie won 6-7, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 in the opening round at Wimbledon in 2021. Their first encounter was in the second round of the French Open in 2018 when Pouille won 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6.
This is the third consecutive time Norrie to move past the opening round at Roland Garros. Last year, he made it to the third round where he lost in four sets against Karen Khachanov.
Norrie is the only British player left in the tournament after Jack Draper retired from his match against Tomas Etcheverry. World no. 55 suffered a shoulder injury and served underarm at times just to try and stay in the match. The 21-year-old took a medical time-out at the beginning of the second round and was forced to retire at 6-4, 1-0 for the Argentinian. On Sunday, Daniel Evans also faced an early exit after losing to Tanasi Kokkinakis in straight sets. Previously, former no. 1 Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund pulled out of the tournament.
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