Sydney: British star Cameron Norrie caused a huge upset by beating Rafael Nadal to give Great Britain a 1-0 lead against Spain in the United Cup mixed tennis tournament here on Saturday.
In his four previous meetings with Nadal, Norrie had never won a set but on Saturday the World No. 14 turned the tables in dramatic style to overcome the 36-year-old Spaniard 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a statement win in Sydney.
In front of a capacity crowd at the Ken Rosewall Arena here, the 27-year-old Norrie timed the ball cleanly off both wings, hitting through Nadal with his flat backhand to triumph after two hours and 45 minutes, according to a report on the ATP Tour website.
Norrie now holds a 2-0 record on the new season, having defeated Australian Alex de Minaur in his opening match at the new mixed-teams event. Great Britain, led by captain Tim Henman, won that opening Group D tie 3-2. Katie Swan will aim to double her nation’s lead when she faces Spaniard Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the last match of the day in Sydney.
In an entertaining clash, Nadal showed great agility to cover the court in the first set, firing an array of stunning passing shots to move ahead. The 36-year-old, playing his first match since the ATP Finals in November, struggled to maintain his level as the match went on. Norrie upped his intensity to outlast the Spaniard in brutal exchanges, said the report.
The four-time tour-level champion gained the crucial break in the sixth game of the second set before he stepped inside the baseline to dictate terms in the decider. After breaking, Norrie saved two break points at 3-2, 15/40, before he held his nerve to seal the biggest win of his career by ATP Ranking.