Defending Champ Norrie, Auger-Aliassime Win Lyon Openers
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.
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.