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Norrie thrashes Schwartzman to book Indian Wells semi-final spot | Tennis

Having already produced one of the best results of his career so far across a brilliant week at the BNP Paribas Open, Cameron Norrie took a further step forward in his progression as he rose to the occasion in one of the biggest matches of his life, obliterating Diego Schwartzman, the 11th seed, 6–0, 6-2 to reach his first ever Masters 1000 semi-final at Indian Wells.

With this latest victory Norrie, 26, has put himself in a strong position to break into the top 20 for the first time, and he will be the new British No 1. Meanwhile, his win over Schwartzman marks his ninth top-20 victory of the year and his 44th overall.

The contrast between where he was at the beginning of the year, ranked 74th, and now becomes more surreal with every passing day. In January, Norrie had just 51 ATP wins and he had beaten only four top 20 players in his career.

Norrie agreed with his post-match interviewer, Martina Navratilova on Amazon Prime, that he had just won the most important match of his life: “I think so,” he said.

“It was such a big moment for me this morning, playing my first Masters 1000 quarter-final, especially against Diego. He’s such a great competitor and I thought I was in for an absolute battle. So pleased to be through. I thought it was probably my biggest match and my biggest win of my career. With all the circumstances and all of the pressures, I was really happy with the way I handled everything.”

In this unusual autumn Indian Wells, moved to October from March due to the pandemic, results have been accordingly unpredictable. Norrie will head into the semi-final with another big opportunity as he awaits either Hubert Hurkacz or Grigor Dimitrov. The way he handled the occasion against Schwartzman will only increase his confidence.

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“With Diego, you have to be careful,” he said. “He’s never gonna go away. He snuck another few matches already this tournament. So, I was thinking about that: ‘I’m not going to let him back in the match.’ I put my foot down, I was able to get that second break and was able to relax and play some great tennis, free up towards the end and play well. So happy.”

Although he is now on the cusp of breaking into the top 20, the truth is that Norrie is effectively already there. Since he has earned most of his points this season, last year’s ranking freeze has been as unkind to him as anyone and his current official ranking of 26 is 12 spots behind his 2021-only ATP race ranking.

But he has consistently put himself in great positions this year and on Tuesday, the results of his remarkable progress were clear to see.

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