Defending Champ Norrie, Auger-Aliassime Win Lyon Openers

Paul battles past home favourite Barrere

Cameron Norrie celebrating victory at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon has become a familiar scene in recent years.

On Wednesday, the World No. 14 sealed his record-extending 12th match win at the clay-court ATP 250 by defeating David Goffin 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals. The 2021 finalist and 2022 champion saved five of six break points he faced en route to an 89-minute triumph, his 50th tour-level clay victory.

“It’s such a special tournament for me, winning my first clay 250 this time last year, and I really like this tournament, "said Norrie in his on-court interview. "It’s pretty unique, in a cycling velodrome in the middle of a park, and it’s always the start of summer for me. I feel really good here… It’s good to be back and good to get a straight-sets win today.”

With his win, Norrie improved to 26-9 for the season. After early exits in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, the 27-year-old is hoping to build on his fourth-round run in Rome last week as he chases his second ATP Tour title of the year.

“I was happy, I felt like I could have moved a little bit better, but it’s always a few nerves in the first match,” said Norrie of his display against Goffin. “I was able to control those in the first set, and I was down an early break in the second and I was able to fight back.”

Norrie’s next opponent in Lyon will be Sebastian Baez. The sixth-seeded Argentine earlier rallied to a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 second-round victory against his countryman Pedro Cachin to reach his 10th tour-level quarter-final.

Third seed Tommy Paul also claimed a three-set triumph on Wednesday. Upon resuming his second-round clash with home favourite Gregoire Barrere, which stood at 2-2 in the third set overnight, the American claimed a 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3 victory in which he saved 11 of 13 break points he faced. He will next take on his fellow American Brandon Nakashima.

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In the final match of the day, top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime notched his first clay-court win of the year by defeating Pablo Llamas Ruiz 7-5, 6-2. The Canadian, who reached the final in Lyon in 2019, converted four of his seven break points to claim a confidence-boosting 88-minute victory.

“It’s a good one. It’s a good one considering that I haven’t played a lot of matches on clay lately,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I haven’t won a lot of matches overall, so happy to get it done overall. You start the day against any opponent and you don’t know what can happen, so I was happy I was able to win in straight sets, to get into the tournament and hopefully I’ll go far this week.”

The World No. 10 Auger-Aliassime will play #NextGenATP Arthur Fils in Thursday's quarter-finals.