Cameron Norrie is into the last-16 of the Miami Open for the first time in his career after producing a hard-fought 6-3 7-5 win over France’s Hugo Gaston.
Norrie, who will break the top 10 of the ATP rankings for the first time if he at least matches Jannik Sinner’s run at the Miami Open, was dragged into lengthy rallies against the 21-year-old but he was able to come out on top in one hour and 55 minutes.
The British number one, who knocked out compatriot Jack Draper in straight sets in the previous round, will face No. 8 seed Casper Ruud next as he bids to win his fourth ATP title on North American soil.
“It was one of those days,” Norrie told Amazon Prime Video afterwards.
“It was tough to close it out. I was a little bit stressed out. I managed to sneak through but I felt I got a bit tentative and lost my feet and I wasn’t moving enough.
“I was really happy with how I responded after getting broken and he’s a tricky guy.
“You feel like you have to be really aggressive or he will throw in a drop shot at any point. I managed to solve the drop shots a lot and execute a couple and it showed on some big points.”
World No. 68 Gaston got off to good start, breaking the Norrie serve in the opening game after the Brit fired a vicious forehand wide. But Norrie broke back instantly in a lengthy second game as the Frenchman crashed a backhand into the net.
Norrie continued to pressure at the net and he picked up his third game in a row to go 3-1 up after Gaston overcooked his attempted lob deep behind the baseline.
The longer the rallies went the more Gaston struggled as he continued to offer up dropshots which Norrie successfully matched. The 21-year-old then had a medical timeout at 4-1 down due to a niggling right ankle problem.
Gaston pulled a game back, rescuing two break points, but Norrie would hold onto his service games to wrap up the set in 55 minutes.
The second set was a tighter contest until the seventh game when Norrie was finally able to break Gaston’s resistance as he hit a loose forehand into the net.
Gaston rescued five match points on his own serve and he made Norrie work to seal the victory as he saved another one on the Brit’s serve before converting a second break point of his own.
But the very next game, Norrie worked his way into break point position and capitalised as Gaston fired a volley into the trams. Gaston smacked a spare ball out of the arena in frustration.
Norrie was then finally able to serve out the match, converting his eighth match point with an ace.