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Ryan Harrison vs Cameron Norrie ATP Atlanta tennis live: Can Norrie make his first ATP final at the BB&T Atlanta Open?

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 28 Jul 2018
  • Ryan Harrison takes on Cameron Norrie in the semifinals of the BB&T Atlanta Open on Saturday
  • Harrison vs Norrie is live from Atlanta on Saturday at 7pm local/12am BST
Ryan Harrison (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Will it be a first ATP World Tour final for Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, or back-to-back BB&T Atlanta Open finals for Ryan Harrison?

Can Ryan Harrison make his second ATP Atlanta final in a row as he takes on Cameron Norrie in Saturday’s BB&T Atlanta Open semifinals?

Harrison has often played well in Atlanta, the 250-level tournament that unofficially begins the build-up to the US Open as more and more top players migrate to the hard courts of the USA, making the semifinals or better on four of his six appearances so far. A semifinalist in 2011 and 2013, losing to Mardy Fish and Kevin Anderson respectively, Harrison finally broke through to the final in 2017 when he defeated Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund in last year’s semifinals before losing to John Isner.

A former ‘next big thing’ of American men’s tennis whose initial breakthrough was followed by a prolonged spell outside the top 100 and matches often distinguished more by exhibitions of temper than good results, Harrison, now 26, broke back into the top 100 at the very end of 2016 and then into the top 50 in 2017 after winning his maiden ATP World Tour title in Memphis. Finishing the season at world no. 45 after that Atlanta runner-up finish, Harrison started 2018 in some style when he made the third ATP World Tour final of his career in Brisbane, finishing runner-up to Nick Kyrgios, and made the third round of the Australian Open too. 

But between February and this week, Harrison only won back-to-back matches once – in Acapulco back in February where he made the quarterfinals – and coming into Atlanta, he had only won one match in his last six events. As so often with Americans, however, a return to American hard courts proved to be a fillip and Harrison has been battling hard in Atlanta. The eighth seed has come back from a set down in each of his wins so far in Georgia: 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 over James Duckworth, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 over Lukas Lacko and finally 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(5) over Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung in the quarterfinals. Chung has only returned this week from a fairly lengthy injury absence, but it was still a very hard-fought and excellent win for Harrison.

‘I knew today I would have to play better and even though I had a couple nervous moments, I thought that I did a pretty good job of responding,’ Harrison said. 

‘Even after making a couple unforced errors in the tie-break, I was still able to get it done. That’s kind of how it happens when you are trying to find your confidence. You have to find a way to win, even if you have a few hiccups. I got through, so I am really happy.’

Cameron Norrie  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
For the second year in a row, Harrison’s opponent in the Atlanta semifinals will be a player representing Great Britain – this time, Cameron Norrie, who is trying to reach his first ATP World Tour final at the 250 event.

A former college player in Texas, Norrie turned pro in 2017 and promptly won three Challenger Tour titles to finish the year as the world no. 115. He has already climbed to a career-high ranking of world no. 75 in 2018, but it’s not all been smooth sailing. Norrie toiled in ATP World Tour qualifying for much of the year so far, successfully qualifying for Delray Beach, Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami during the spring hard-court swing – suggesting a level of comfort with these American hard-court tournaments – but unable to win a match at any of them. 

Norrie is also pretty comfortable on clay, however, scoring a hugely impressive victory over then-world no. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut in Davis Cup back in February, and his season picked up when he made his first ATP World Tour semifinal at the 250 in Lyon the week before the French Open, beating John Isner before falling to Gilles Simon.

Norrie went on to make the second round of the French Open (via the retirement of Peter Gojowczyk in the first round) and the quarterfinals of the 250 in Eastbourne, although he lost in the first round of Wimbledon. Returning to action this week in Atlanta, the unseeded British player opened with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Malek Jaziri before ousting sixth seed Jeremy Chardy 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against Nick Kyrgios – a quarterfinal which unfortunately ended in a retirement from the Australian, who trailed 5-7, 0-3 at the time and was booed off the court.

‘It feels great to get into the semis, but not the way I wanted to do it today,’ Norrie said. ‘I have played really really well all week. I am looking forward to my match tomorrow against Harrison. It is going to be a battle. We have both played good tennis all week.’

Harrison and Norrie have never played, but Norrie has played Christian – Ryan’s less successful brother – twice and should have a good idea about the American’s game. In terms of game, it’s not a bad match-up for Norrie, but Harrison has the bit between his teeth in Atlanta, plays well here and will have the crowd very much behind him. Back-to-back Atlanta Open finals could be very much on the cards for the American.

Harrison vs Norrie semifinal tennis is live from Atlanta on Saturday at 7pm local/12am BST

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Ryan Harrison vs Cameron Norrie ATP Atlanta tennis live: Can Norrie make his first ATP final at the BB&T Atlanta Open?

Ryan Harrison targets back-to-back ATP Atlanta finals as he takes on Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie: BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live from Atlanta

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