CAMERON Norrie is one win away from claiming his maiden ATP Tour title after reaching the final of the Cinch Championships. Playing in front of a home London crowd, the Brit knocked off second seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov in an upset, to advance through to the final to take on top seed Matteo Berrettini.
Norrie won 7-5 6-3 against Shapovalov – who had to do the double following his quarter finals win over Frances Tiafoe earlier in the day – for the world number 41 to stake his case for a seeding at Wimbledon. The 29-year-old had already reached a career-high in the world rankings, but he showed out on court he is not done yer, winning 76 and 57 per cent of his first and second serves off a 65 per cent clip against the Canadian to win in one hour and 34 minutes.
“I think I played very, very well today, I was extremely clutch on some of the big points,” Norrie said post-match. “I am so pleased to be through to the final here, I can’t even describe it. It has not really sunk in yet. It is nice to get over the line there, and all credit to Denis, it was a tough match.
“It is a huge tournament for me and one of my biggest achievements so far, so I couldn’t be more pleased with myself. Let’s see if I can win one more tomorrow.”
Norrie has previously come runner-up in two events in Lyon and Estoril, and he will be hoping to go one better against Berrettini in the Cinch Championships final. Berrettini has enjoyed an impressive season with a 25-6 record to bounce back from a forgettable 2020 year, and is yet to drop a set in London, defeating fourth seed Alex de Minaur 6-4 6-4 in the semi-finals in 84 minutes on court.
“That was the goal of the week [making the final], and now I have one more step. It is a great achievement, especially for the history of this tournament. I am really happy because to beat Alex today, I had to play my best tennis,” Berrettini said post-match.
“The mentality is that I always think I can win my service games. “I know that I have a big weapon with my serve and first shot. “If I sleep too well it means something is off ahead of the final. “I have to be nervous and tight a little bit, otherwise the adrenaline does not kick in and it is tougher to play.”
Meanwhile in Halle, fourth seed Andrey Rublev will look to continue his remarkable form at ATP 500 tournaments in the past 18 months, taking care of Georgian qualifier and Top 30 player Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets, 6-1 3-6 6-3 to book his spot in the final. He needed an hour and 51 minutes to claim the win, serving six aces without a double fault, only broken once from two chances, and breaking Basilashvili three teams from eight opportunities.
“It’s my first final on grass and in Halle,” Rublev said post-match. “I think I can play on every surface and I will try my best again tomorrow. I had good opportunities to break him (Basilashvili) in the second set, some quite easy forehands and I stressed a little showing my emotions. I then came back and stayed calm, until the last game. But I won.”
Rublev will now look to take down a red-hot Ugo Humbert who left fellow young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime in his wake. The unseeded Frenchman knocked off Auger-Aliassime 6-4 3-6 7-6 to reach the Noventi Open final, with a 7-5 deciding set tiebreaker being the difference. The match lasted two hours and 34 minutes, with Humbert weathering 14 aces. and serving eight of his own, and saving eight break points, to go toe-for-toe in the power-packed contest and reverse the result from Auger-Aliassime’s triumph in Stuttgart last week.
“It was an amazing match from both of us, but it was very tough physically and mentally,” Humbert said post-match. “I’m very proud to win this match, it was exceptional. “It gives me a lot of confidence [winning matches like this], and when you win some matches 7-6 two times in the third set.”
NOVENTI OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:
 Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated [Q] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-1 3-6 6-3
Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-4 3-6 7-6
CINCH CHAMPIONSHIPS SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated  Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 7-5 6-3
 Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated  Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-4 6-4
CINCH CHAMPIONSHIPS QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:
 Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3 6-4
Picture credit: ATP Tour