ASB Classic: Second seed Cam Norrie overcomes weather, Jiri Lehecka to advance to quarter-finals

Weather has continued to take its toll on the ASB Classic, with second seed Cam Norrie taking five-and-a-half hours - between rain delays - to advance to quarter-finals at Auckland's Stanley Street.

Others weren't so lucky, with third-seeded Argentinian Diego Schwartzman falling to injury and Belgian David Goffin providing a scary moment, when he slipped on the wet court and stayed down in his evening match.

On the stroke midnight, top seed Casper Ruud joined the procession of favoured players to exit early, beaten by Serb Laslo Djere, leaving Norrie as the only surviving seed among the final eight.

Carrying hometown support, the South African-born, NZ-raised Brit began his second-round match against promising Czech Jiri Lehecka at 1:30pm, but the pair were forced off centrecourt several times during the afternoon, finally completing the contest about 7pm on an indoor court.

David Goffin slips on the wet court at ASB Classic
David Goffin slips on the wet court at ASB Classic. Photo credit: Photosport

Norrie, 27, handled the disruptions better than his opponent, who had momentum on his side, when he took the second-set tiebreak, but promptly lost it, when rain intervened. When they resumed 40 minutes later, Norrie broke Lehecka's serve for a 3-0 lead and never looked in danger again.  

"It's tough on the concentration," he admitted. "You stop and start throughout the match, and sometimes stay on the court... you're constantly thinking if you're going to slip on the lines.

"It was not easy. There was a bit of nerves coming back to New Zealand - I wanted to play well in front of everyone - and Jiri's a great player."

Norrie comes to Auckland in good form, after defeating Australian Open champion Rafa Nadal across the Tasman last week and will now face American Marcos Giron in the next stage.

Earlier, Schartzman dropped his first set against American Jenson Brooksby and could not continue, after tweaking a groin, while chasing the ball along the baseline. With the Australian Open looming next week, he chose to withdraw in a bid to recover for the year's first Grand Slam at Melbourne.

Goffin survived his fall on the outside court and returned to overcome American qualifier Chris Eubanks, when their match resumed indoors. Replays showed the Belgian veteran slipped on the 'Auckland' branding behind the baseline, but he did not need medical attention and quickly composed himself.

His opponent gave up the rally midpoint to race past the net and check on Goffin.

"Normally, tennis is always about adaptations all the time, because of the weather, wind, sun, indoors, outdoors," said Goffin. "We start two games outdoors and it was completely different when we had to go inside.

"It's about staying focused mentally and staying calm, because sometimes conditions can make you feel nervous. At the end, I managed to play well and I am very happy."

Norwegian Ruud never made it to centrecourt. His long-awaited first appearance at the tournament against Djere was repeatedly delayed by rain and eventually transferred under the roof.

The world No.3 cruised through the opening set, but met surprising resistance from his rival and never broke his service again, eventually bowing out in a third-set tiebreaker dominated by Djere.

Meanwhile, young Kiwi wildcards Ajeet Rai and Finn Reynolds pushed doubles top seeds Nikola Mektic and Matek Pavic of Croatia to the limit, stealing the second set in a tiebreak and forcing a super tiebreak, before finally succumbing.

Join us on Thursday morning for live updates of the ASB Classic men's quarter-finals