The new British No. 1 racquet came back from a set down to beat Basilashvili, winning his biggest career title in Indian Wells on Sunday.
Cameron Norrie woke up this morning as the new British No. 1, having reached a new career-high No. 16 in the ATP Rankings after he claimed his first ATP Master 1000 title, becoming the 2021 BNP Paribas Open champion.
The 26-year-old edged Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to capture the biggest title of his career in one hour and 51 minutes.
In his on-court interview, he said: “It means so much to me, my biggest title. I’m so happy. I can’t even describe it right now.
“It was a strange match today but absolutely massive for me and my team. I can’t really believe it. If you’d have told me Id have won before the tournament started, I wouldn’t have believed you, so it’s amazing.”
The victory on Sunday allowed Norrie to place himself in contention to qualify into the Nitto ATP Finals.
The first British player to win a singles title in Indian Wells has risen from 14th to the 10th position in the Race to Turin with only 160 points separating him from the ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz.
In his post-match press conference at Tennis Paradise, the Brit talked about the Finals: “I was thinking about it. If you think about it too much, it can’t be good for you. I’m playing Vienna, Paris, and Stockholm, the last three events indoors. It would be nice to make it, but I’m going to keep going, keep taking care of what I can, and handling what I can.”
Adding: “I think even being in the conversation this late in the year. I think that’s impressive for me.”
The Nitto ATP Finals set the season’s grand finale, featuring the world’s best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams.
The event will be held for the first time in Turin, Italy, from November 14th to 21st.
THE RACE TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Throughout his campaign in Indian Wells, Los Cabos 2021 champion overcame American Tennys Sandgren, Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, ranked No. 54 Tommy Paul, 4-time ATP titlist Diego Schwartzman, former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov, and Basilashvili.
As well as Norrie, his final adversary enjoyed a remarkable run in the tournament, in which he recorded the biggest win of his career over World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Georgian stunned the Greek 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to advance to his first Masters 1000 semifinal, ousting local favorite Taylor Fritz in straight sets to secure a spot in the final against Norrie.
Reflecting on his performance during the championship match, Norrie outlined: “I was a little bit uncomfortable. It was quite windy. He hit so many winners, and it was tough for me to get some confidence in my rally balls because the rallies were really short. He was just blasting winners, so when I made a couple of those big shots at that 5-4 game in the second set, it gave me a lot of confidence.”
“I was able to find my feet and start moving again. I made the rallies physical like I’d been doing all tournament, and it worked in my favor.”
Ahead of his appearance at the BNP Paribas Open, Norrie reached the final in San Diego, falling to second seed Casper Ruud in straights sets.
The British player will be back in action at the Erste Bank Open held in Vienna from October 25th to the 31st.