Norrie Soars Into First Slam QF
In an accomplished display on Court No. 1, the Briton outlasted Paul as he demonstrated great energy to cover the court, while he flattened out his backhand to turn the table in points and advance after two hours and 21 minutes.
“To make the quarters for the first time, in front of my family and friends here from college is so special,” Norrie said in his on-court interview. “In a huge match, to play the way I did, was really good. To execute everything. I really enjoyed it. It is pretty crazy, I have a lot of feelings.
Norrie, who had never been beyond the third round at a major before this week, now leads the 25-year-old Paul 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. The 26-year-old is first British man to reach the last eight at The Championships since two-time titlist Andy Murray in 2017, while he is just the fifth British man overall to achieve the feat.
”I think from the first round everyone has been behind me and supported me and I definitely think it has helped in some of the tougher situations in matches,” Norrie added. “When I was serving for the match there, I was going through a lot of different scenarios in my head. I was able to stay calm enough to close it out. It was great and you guys helped me through it.”
Earlier this week, the ninth seed rallied past Spaniard Jaume Munar in five sets, while he brushed aside Pablo Andujar and Steve Johnson in straight sets. Norrie, who is making his fifth Wimbledon appearance, will look to continue his run when he plays David Goffin next. The Belgian edged American Frances Tiafoe 7-6(3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 to equal his best run in London.
Norrie flew out of the blocks against Paul in front of a lively home crowd, breaking in the first game to quickly gain control. The World No. 12 hit his watertight groundstrokes with great precision and he raised his level when it mattered most, saving all four break points he faced in the first set to lead.
An entertaining second set saw Norrie race ahead again as he looked to control the tempo from the baseline. After failing to serve out the set at 5-4, the Briton quickly regained his composure to break again. With the wind in his sails and the crowd behind him, the ninth seed then held firm in the third set as he showed the mentality that saw him capture the Indian Wells title last year to advance.
Paul was also competing in the fourth round at a Slam for the first time, having not dropped a set en route. The World No. 32, who was making his Wimbledon debut, was one of four Americans to reach the last 16, the most at Wimbledon since 1999.