Tournament 11 Jan 2024

Norrie sidelined as emerging stars push into semifinals at ASB Classic

by ASB Classic
Norrie sidelined as emerging stars push into semifinals at ASB Classic

The unexpected injury withdrawal of home-town favourite Cameron Norrie, has left emerging stars Ben Shelton and Arthur Fils as clear favourites for the ASB Classic.

Norrie suffered a wrist injury from yesterday’s match, and after checks, he was left with my option but withdraw, which means he will have to wait a further 12 months to chase the coveted title in the city of Auckland where he grew up.

Top seed Ben Shelton raced his way into the semifinal where he will take on Taro Daniel, the first player from Japan to qualify for a semifinal at Auckland. Meanwhile Fils has become the first teenager to reach the semifinals in Auckland since a 17-year-old Rafael Nadal who reached the final in 2004.

Shelton was forced to work hard in the heat to advance to the semifinals after outlasting Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4 6-3.

The 21-year-old again showed his immense power, pushing over the 230kph mark on his biggest serves which he needed to finally extinguish a doughty challenge from Carballes Baena.

“I am just trying to stick to my game-plan this week and focus on trying to play the right way, the type of tennis that I visualise myself playing three or four years from now, and being content with some of the mistakes,” said Shelton.

“I want to have an aggressive style, an all-court player and most importantly, I don’t want to second-guess myself. I want to be committed to any decision I make on the court and not hesitate at all. When you hesitate you get in trouble.”

His opponent Daniel will line-up in his fourth ATP Tour semifinal, and his first in three years.

The 30-year-old US-based Japanese player led 4-0 in the second set before Frenchman Alexandre Muller fought back to win in the tiebreak. However Daniel re-engaged after a break to claim control in the final set 6-3.

“It’s really nice to be the first Japanese player to make the semifinals. Last year I had a really hard time. The weather was horrible and we had to play indoors and was one of the worst weeks in my career. So now to have one of the best – that contrast is so nice to have.”

The 19-year-old Fils has been enjoying his time in Auckland, as he reached his sixth ATP Tour semifinal although his first on outdoor hard courts.

He found the teak-tough Daniel Altmaier a strong challenge, with both featuring in a range of audacious shots. Fils was forced to a tiebreak which he won 7-6 but after leading in the second set, his opponent said a foot injury prevented him continuing.

“During the first set was ok, and feeling better and finish the first set playing really well. Both of us were playing pretty good and I did not know he was in pain,” said “Fils. “I am really happy to win but not in this way of course, but I am feeling confident.”

He will meet Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) who had the walkover against Norrie.


Men’s Singles Quarterfinals: Taro Daniel (JPN) bt Alexandre Muller (FRA)6-4 6-7 6-3, Ben Shelton (USA) bt Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-4 6-3, Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) bt Cameron Norrie (GBR) walkover, Arthur Fils (FRA) bt Daniel Altmaier (GER) 7-6, 1-0 Ret,

Doubles Quarterfinals: Wesley Koolhof (NED) and Nikola Mektic (CRO) bt Maximo Gonzalez (ARG) Andrew MoltenI (ARG) 6-0 2-6 12-10, Nathaniel Lammons (USA) and Jackson Withrow (USA) bt Julian Cash (GBR) and Robert Galloway (USA) 3-6 7-6 10-2.

CENTRE COURT start 12:15 pm
Wheelchair Match
1:00 pm: [1] Ben Shelton (USA) vs Taro Daniel (JPN); [6] Arthur Fils (FRA) vs [Q] Alejandro Tabilo (CHI); [1] Marcel Granollers (ESP) / Horacio Zeballos (ARG) vs [4] Nathaniel Lammons (USA) / Jackson Withrow (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 3:00 pm
Sadio Doumbia (FRA) / Fabien Reboul (FRA) or Sander Gille (BEL) / Joran Vliegen (BEL) vs Wesley Koolhof (NED) / Nikola Mektic (CRO)