THERE was a distinct feeling of the ATP Tour’s future being on display as the next wave of talent advanced through to the semi-finals in the Noventi Open and Cinch Championships. Whilst one quarter final – between second seed Denis Shapovalov and American Frances Tiafoe – is yet to get underway at London, the other seven events across the two tournaments played out.
At the Cinch Championships, two of the home nation heroes were dumped out of the tournament at the expense of one local talent, as Cameron Norrie advanced through to the semis by defeating compatriot and wildcard Jack Draper. Norrie won 6-3 6-3 to advance through to the final four, with the 25-year-old the second oldest winner on the ATP Tour yesterday. The world number 41 has had a great 2021 season, winning 28 of 40 matches, and needed 86 minutes to dismiss the 19-year-old talent.
”With the conditions, it was very different compared to the last couple of days,” Norrie said post-match. “Jack has been playing some really good tennis, and all credit to him, he was serving big. “I think the slower conditions today suited me a little bit more. I managed to play some really good tennis towards the end of the first set and start of the second.”
“It was not easy as the court was pretty slippery towards the end, but I am really pleased to be through. “I am happy with how I handled everything. It is a lot of fun to have this momentum and keep it rolling, but I think there are a lot of things I can improve on still.”
Norrie will take on the winner of Shapovalov and Tiafoe tomorrow once the pair face off early, whilst the other semi-final will be between a couple of rising stars in top seed Matteo Berrettini and fourth seed Alex de Minaur. Berrettini knocked off sixth seed Brit Daniel Evans, and de Minaur claimed a victory over impressive grass court veteran Marin Cilic, both matches going 7-6 6-3 in tight circumstances.
Over in Germany, fourth seed Andrey Rublev rolled on into the final four, taking out the last remaining home nation talent in Philipp Kohlschreiber, 7-6 6-2. He advanced through to the semis to now face Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili who has already claimed two titles this year in a real brilliant or terrible season boasting a 16-15 win-loss record.
“I am happy with my performance to reach the semi-finals for the first time,” Rublev said post-match. “The first set was really tough. He was 3-0 up in the tie-break and I came back, which was the key. “After the first set, I think he mentally went down and I was pumped up. I hit a couple of good returns in the first game of the second set.”
The pair are 2-2 in the head-to-head battle, whilst another couple of young guns in Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and Frenchman Ugo Humbert lock horns in the other semi-final. Both giant-killers in the Round of 16, Auger-Aliassime took down grass court legend Roger Federer in a come-from-behind win, as Humbert dislodged tournament favourite Alexander Zverev in a tight three sets. In the quarter finals, the Canadian had an easier time out, rolling past American qualifier Marcos Giron in just 58 minutes, 6-3 6-2, whilst Humbert fought back from losing the second set in a tiebreaker to Sebastian Korda to claim a 6-2 6-7 6-4 win.
“I’ve been playing well these past two weeks, believing in myself a lot and dominating my service games,” Auger-Aliassime said post-match. “As soon as I got the break [in the first set], I feel like I loosened up and things were just going better and better.
“I don’t think Marcos played his best match, I’ve seen him play great matches before and beat Top 10 opponents… but in the end, I think I was able to put a lot of pressure on him and dictate the points. “So I can be happy with my performance.”
NOVENTI OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:
 Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 7-6 6-2
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated [Q] Marcos Giron (USA) 6-3 6-2
Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-2 6-7 6-4
[Q] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-4 7-6
CINCH CHAMPIONSHIPS QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:
 Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated  Daniel Evans (GBR) 7-6 6-3
 Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-6 6-3
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [WC] Jack Draper (GBR) 6-3 6-3
Picture credit: ATP Tour