Tournament 13 Jan 2023

Hometown Norrie meets veteran Frenchman in ASB Classic Final

by ASB Classic
Hometown Norrie meets veteran Frenchman in ASB Classic Final

World No. 12 ranked Cameron Norrie will have a “hometown” crowd backing him in Saturday’s final of the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Norrie, 27, won through to his second ASB Classic final after a 6-3 6-3 victory over American Jenson Brooksby, with the former Bucklands Beach club player always in control.

The British representative, born in South Africa but brought up in New Zealand, will look to go one better than his 2019 final when he lost to American Tennys Sandgren in straight sets.

He has started the 2023 season in fine form, with six wins without blemish, ahead of any other player to date.

Norrie will take on the highly experienced Richard Gasquet in tomorrow’s final after the Frenchman won in a walkover after compatriot Constant Lestienne, who withdrew with a pectoral muscle injury he suffered earlier in the week.

“I served well and hit my spots and won most of the long rallies,” said Norrie. “He put the ball in awkward parts of the court but I was able to use my legs and win some of the longer rallies. I think I have played a more complete match and it helped that it was a nicer day as well.”

Norrie is looking forward to his first clash with Gasquet, who has won 15 titles and 592 wins, the most among Frenchman in the Open Era since 1968.

“He is an absolute veteran. I am going to have to run a lot to beat him. He plays really physical tennis. I will watch some of Rafa’s (Nadal) matches against him – he has a good record – and get ready for tomorrow.

“I am used to playing these big matches. It’s special to be in the final and I will enjoy dinner with my girlfriend and team and chill out before another big final.

“It was pretty hot and think that was better for me with the ball flying around. Hopefully it will be another nice day tomorrow.

“But Richard is a very experienced player who has won a lot of titles and it is going to be a good battle and I am looking forward to it.”

The top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, both from Croatia, will take on the American pair of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow in the doubles final on Saturday.

The No. 1 seeds accounted for the Austrian pair of Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler 7-6 6-3 on centrecourt, while Lammons and Withrow beat Marcel Granollers (Spain) and Horacio Zeballos (Argentina) 7-6 7-6 in two-tiebreak sets.

The Croatians are one of the foremost pairings in the world with Pavic ranked No 5 in the world in the doubles rankings and Mektic at No 8.

It was no easy first set, as they prevailed 7-5 in the tiebreak but were in control in the second set, while Lammons and Withrow also had tough tiebreak battles, both of them won 7-5.