Match Report

Defending Champ Norrie Reaches Lyon SFs

Cerundolo downs Draper, Nakashima defeats Paul
May 25, 2023
Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon
Cameron Norrie in action on Thursday in Lyon. By ATP Staff

Defending champion Cameron Norrie maintained his impressive record at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon Thursday when he overcame sixth seed Sebastian Baez 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

The Briton holds a 13-3 record at the ATP 250 clay-court event, having advanced to the final in 2021 before he lifted the trophy in 2022. The second seed produced a dominant performance in the third set against Baez to reach the semi-finals in Lyon for the fourth time.

“The second set he came back strong. He was winning the tougher games like I was in the first set. I tried to reset and came out with a lot of energy,” Norrie said. “I have won a lot of three-set matches this year, so I had a lot of confidence going into the decider and I thought it was a solid match.”

Norrie looked to dictate on the forehand and was aggressive on return in the decider, winning 55 per cent (6/11) of points on Baez’s first serve in the third set to advance after one hour and 53 minutes.

Norrie leads Baez 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the Argentine in the quarter-finals in Lyon last year. Earlier this season, the World No. 14 captured his fifth tour-level title on clay in Rio de Janeiro. Norrie will next play Francisco Cerundolo.

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In the first quarter-final of the day, Cerundolo moved past British lefty Jack Draper 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The fourth-seeded Argentine recovered from a set-and-a-break down, raising his intensity and level as the match went on to advance to his first tour-level semi-final since Hamburg in 2022.

Cerundolo is chasing his second title on clay, having triumphed in Bastad last season. The 24-year-old has won five of his past six matches on clay after reaching the quarter-finals in Rome.

Brandon Nakashima defeated third seed Tommy Paul 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach his first semi-final of the season.

The 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals champion arrived in Lyon holding a 3-6 record on the season. However, the 21-year-old has regained his best form in France to move to within two wins of his second tour-level title (San Diego 2022).

Nakashima recovered from squandering three match points on serve at 5-4 in the second set, eventually advancing after one hour and 49 minutes.

The World No. 52 will meet #NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils in the semi-finals after Felix Auger-Aliassime withdrew before their match due to a right shoulder injury.

"I'm very sorry I had to withdraw from my match tonight at the @openparcara. I have been struggling with some pain in my shoulder for a few days and I tried my best to get ready for today's match but I didn't feel competitive enough in the end," Auger-Aliassime wrote on Instagram. "Time to assess the issue and do everything I can to be ready for Roland Garros."

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