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Nick Kyrgios vs Cameron Norrie BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live: Kyrgios seeks a return to Atlanta semi-finals

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 26 Jul 2018
  • Nick Kyrgios vs Cameron Norrie is live from Atlanta at 8.00pm local time on Friday (1.00am BST, Friday)
  • First tour-level meeting between the pair
Nick Kyrgios (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Second seed Nick Kyrgios continues his quest for a second BB&T Atlanta Open title on Friday when he squares off against Cameron Norrie in the quarter-finals.

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Nick Kyrgios brings a five-match winning streak in Atlanta into his quarter-final showdown with Cameron Norrie on Friday. A champion in Atlanta two years ago, Kyrgios missed his title defence last year due to injury, but he’s back after a solid grass season and was impressive during a routine first round triumph on Thursday. Appearing fresh and relaxed, is Kyrgios set to remain unbeaten in Atlanta this week? Or can Norrie - who is enjoying his best season on tour in 2018 - spring the upset and register one of the best wins of his career? Kyrgios and Norrie take to court at 8.00pm local time on Friday (1.00am BST, Saturday).

It’s always tough to gauge what sort of form or mindset Kyrgios is going to be in before every match he plays - let alone his first match of a tournament on a new surface - but the Australian was clinical in his opening match on Thursday against qualifier Noah Rubin, easing past the American in just 56 minutes. Kyrgios began the encounter by imitating the serves of Roger Federer and Gael Monfils as he held to love and fired two aces in the process, with games going on serve until deep into the set when Kyrgios broke to claim it with a booming forehand cross-court winner. Kyrgios went down an immediate break in the second but responded straight away and ultimately cruised to a 7-5 6-2 victory.

Straightforward, clinical and off the court in less than an hour, it was the perfect start to Kyrgios’ campaign, with the Australian searching for his second BB&T Atlanta Open title after prevailing in 2016, toppling the giant John Isner - who is a four-time champion at the tournament - in the final. The pair are set to meet in a rematch as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeded players in the draw, but there’s still a lot of work to be done for both players, with Isner facing Mischa Zverev in his quarter-final (the German has won their last three meetings), while Kyrgios needs to deal with the ever-improving Norrie and potentially Hyeon Chung in the semis if he makes it that far.

After reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati, making the Miami Masters semi-finals and finishing runner-up in Beijing last year, Kyrgios began 2018 by winning the Brisbane International and making the fourth round of the Australian Open - but it all fell apart from there as an elbow injury surfaced and forced the Australian out for the bulk of the clay season, while he competed injured in Miami and Houston. The 23-year-old returned for the grass swing and was impressive in back-to-back semi-final showing in Stuttgart and Queen’s Club, but he would have been disappointed in his third round Wimbledon exit to Kei Nishikori.

But never one to dwell on past performances, Kyrgios is already looking at moving on in Atlanta - and he will be confident of going all the way for the second time this week.

Cameron Norrie (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Cameron Norrie - the World No. 85 who was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, played college tennis in the USA (and was the top-ranked player at one stage) but represents Great Britain after receiving limited funding from the New Zealand tennis federation - is someone that Kyrgios can’t afford to underestimate, and it’s unlikely he will given they grew up playing juniors together from the age of 12. Norrie has enjoyed a very fruitful last 12 months - he was ranked No. 277 this time last year - but he arrives in Atlanta at a career-high World No. 73, and he’s set to rise even higher after beating Malek Jaziri and Jeremy Chardy to reach the quarter-finals.

Norrie only turned professional in May last year after finishing college, but the 22-year-old has wasted no time in rising up the rankings, picking up Challenger titles in Tiburon, Stockton and Binghamton, finishing runner-up in Cary and making further semi-finals in Lahaina, Lexington and Champaign, while he also qualified for the U.S. Open, benefitting from a first round retirement from Dmitry Tursunov to reach the second round before going down to eventual semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta.

The left-handed Norrie didn’t make much of an impact to kick off 2018, but he’s continued his rapid rise into the top 100 as the season has drawn on, scoring a tremendous five-set victory over Roberto Bautista Agut in Davis Cup action for Great Britain against Spain in Marbella, while he also pushed Dominic Thiem to 7-5 in the third set after qualifying for the strong ATP 500 event in Acapulco. Norrie ticked off another personal milestone on the clay of Lyon as he registered his first ever top 10 win over John Isner on his way to his maiden ATP semi-final in Lyon, eventually going down to the experienced Gilles Simon. Norrie didn’t have the best grass season, losing in the opening round in three of the four tournaments he played, although he did end up making the Nottingham quarter-finals.

This will be the first tour-level meeting between the pair. As mentioned, the pair both no each other’s games well despite never playing a professional match, with Kyrgios and Norrie playing numerous times in juniors over the years. Kyrgios has obviously risen to the top of men’s tennis and is an established top 20 star with wins over all of the ‘Big Four’, while Norrie is still trying to take his game to that next level. Kyrgios is the better player with way more firepower right now, and if he plays the way he did in his first round, he should be advancing in straight sets once again.

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Nick Kyrgios vs Cameron Norrie BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live: Kyrgios seeks a return to Atlanta semi-finals

Second seed Nick Kyrgios continues his quest for a second BB&T Atlanta Open title on Friday when he squares off against Cameron Norrie in the quarter-finals.

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