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Norrie vs Sandgren ATP Auckland Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Norrie battles Sandgren for first tour-level title

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 11 Jan 2019
  • Cameron Norrie vs Tennys Sandgren is live from Auckland on Saturday, 12 January from 2:30pm local time/ 1:30am GMT
  • Both Norrie and Sandgren are seeking their first tour-level titles
Cameron Norrie. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

British No. 2, Cameron Norrie contests his first tour-level final om Saturday as he takes on American, Tennys Sandgren at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Norrie had lost his three previous ATP World Tour semi-finals, all in 2017, but he finally crossed that hurdle on Friday, battling past Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff 7-5 4-6 6-3 to move into the title match.

Sending down 17 aces and serving at 74%, Norrie's serve played a pivotal role in his victory over Struff, with the Brit winning 74% of his first serve points, saving eight of the ten break points he faced.

Opportunities were few in the first set, but Norrie grabbed the only break in the 12th game to take the lead. Struff hit back in the second set, breaking twice on his way to levelling the match, but Norrie made the early move in the decider, jumping out a 3-0 lead. Despite some late nerves- he served two double faults while attempting to close out the match- the Brit maintained that advantage till the end, closing out the win after an hour and 55 minutes.

"I was really, really nervous in that last game... slightly tight, but a big thanks to the crowd for getting me through that,” Norrie said. “It's so special... It's my first final and to do it at home, too, it means so much to me.”

(He spent most of his early years in New Zealand.)

After breaking into the top 100 last year, the Brit has made a very promising start to the new season, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe in the Hopman Cup, and now advancing to his maiden tour final in Auckland. His Auckland run has included straight sets victories over Benoit Paire, Joao Sousa and Taylor Fritz, and Friday's battling win over Struff. The 23-year-old is projected to break into the top 70 with this Auckland result, while he will crack the top 60 if he wins on Saturday.

Can he cap a wonderful week by defeating American, Tennys Sandgren in the final?

Tennys Sandgren. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Sandgren is into his second tour-level final, and will be looking to claim his first title after losing to Steve Johnson in his only other trip to a championship match in Houston last season.

The American has moved through the Auckland draw without dropping a set, beating Maximillian Marterer, Marco Cecchinato, Leonardo Mayer and Philipp Kohlschreiber en route the final. He was superb on serve in his quarter final victory over 2008 Auckland champion, Kohlschreiber, dropping just 2 points on his first serve, which stood at a healthy 70%, and saving all three break points he faced, all of which were in the first game of the match, when he trailed 0-40.

After recovering from that deficit, Sandgren was untouchable from the service line, and was particularly ruthless in the second set when he won all 16 points behind his serve.

"I trained really hard in November and December and put in a lot of good work, trying to mentally be as solid and sound as I can be, which is a problem for me sometimes. I get down on myself when things start to go wrong, get negative and beat myself up... So I've been working hard on that, and I feel like physically I'm the healthiest as I've been in over a year now.” Sandgren said.

After grinding away on the Challenger and ITF tours, Sandgren burst onto the big stage at last year's Australian Open, where he beat Jeremy Chardy, Stan Wawrinka, Marterer and Dominic Thiem before falling Hyeon Chung in the quarter finals. The American never quite reached those heights in the rest of the year, with his only other notable results being that Houston final, and quarter finals in Geneva and Stockholm. By virtue of his previous work on the ATP Challenger Tour, the 27-year-old was already in the top 100 before his Melbourne surge, and he climbed to 55th after the Australian Open, and peaked at 47th after his runner-up finish in Houston. He ended the season at 61st on the rankings.
Sandgren opened 2019 with a three-set loss to John Millman in Brisbane, but he has found some fine form in Auckland, and now stands just one win away from his maiden tour-level title.

Sandgren and Norrie might not have met before on the ATP World Tour, but they are very familiar with each other, having crossed on six previous occasions on the Challenger and Futures Tours. Norrie leads 4-2 on head-to-head, and has won the last three.

“That wasn't a lot of fun. He wasn't my favourite guy!” Sandgren said, ahead of the final.

Can he reverse his current trend against the Brit to go all the way in Auckland, or will it be Norrie celebrating his first career title on Saturday?

Cameron Norrie vs Tennys Sandgren is live from Auckland on Saturday, 12 January from 2:30pm local time/ 1:30am GMT

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Norrie vs Sandgren ATP Auckland Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Norrie battles Sandgren for first tour-level title

Cameron Norrie and Tennys Sandreg meet on Saturday to battle for the Auckland title. Who will claim his first career title? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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