Norrie Dispatches Rune In New York
The seventh-seeded Briton defeated Benoit Paire and Joao Sousa in straight sets in his opening two matches and looked in control again against Rune. Norrie fired 22 winners, struck his groundstrokes consistently and soaked up the 19-year-old’s heavy-hitting to advance after two hours and 13 minutes.
“Holger is not easy. He can go through patches where he is playing pretty passively and then he hits aggressively, so you have to be ready for anything,” Norrie said. "He has great hands and defends really well at times. I think I stayed a lot calmer than he did throughout the big moments in the match.
“My goal today was to get to two hours and then start the match from then. When it hit two hours I broke to go 2-1 in the third and I pointed to Facu and said, ‘Now the match starts’…I feel great.”
The 26-year-old has improved to 3-0 in his ATP Head2Head series against Rune, having defeated the Munich champion in Cincinnati last month. Norrie, who is making his sixth appearance at the hard-court major, will next play ninth seed Andrey Rublev or 19th seed Denis Shapovalov.
Norrie arrived in New York in good form after he advanced to the semi-finals in Cincinnati, where he lost to eventual champion Borna Coric. The four-time tour-level titlist is up to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as he looks to finish the season strongly and qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in November.
In a tight first set, Norrie recovered from squandering two set points at 5-3 and a break advantage as he regained his focus to eventually clinch the opener after 49 minutes when Rune hit a forehand long. The seventh seed forced the Dane into errors in the second set with his watertight groundstrokes before he committed just one unforced error in the third set to race away to victory.
Rune, who is fourth in the Pepperstone Live Race To Milan, was aiming to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the second time after he enjoyed a dream run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in June.