Tennis: Cam Norrie prevails against Lucas van Assche to book ASB Classic quarter-final

  • 11/01/2024

Brit Cameron Norrie has begun his bid for a maiden ASB Classic title with a hard-fought win over rising junior star Luca van Assche.

Proceeding straight to the second round after receiving a bye in the first, Norrie earned a 6-3 6-7 6-1 win over the 19-year-old Frenchman in Auckland on Wednesday to advance to the quarter-finals.

The two-time finalist closed out on the opening set after earning a break in the fifth game to take the early advantage.

The second set was a much tighter affair, with van Assche - a former junior world No. 1 - saving a match point before turning the tide and sending the match to a decisive third.

The teen seemed to have captured the momentum after claiming a break in the first game of the set, before the world No. 19 showed his class by reeling off six games in a row to book his spot in the next round.

"That was pretty special," Norrie said after the match. "Like the old Cam Norrie win, having to tough it out.

"Credit it to him, it was a tough match and I was happy with the way I responded when I went down a break in the third.

Raised in Auckland before relocating to the UK as a teen, Norrie said it was always satisfying to put out a performance he could be proud of in front of his long-time hometown.

"It was so special to play out here tonight. They do it so well here at this tournament.  

"A lot of people here know me from playing as a junior here, so nice to be able to put a performance on in front of them all, and it keeps my chances alive."

Michael Venus and Jamie Murray.
Michael Venus and Jamie Murray. Photo credit: Getty Images

The 28-year-old will move on to face Chilean Alejandro Tabilo, who beat Dutchman Botic van de Zanschulp in straight sets in his second-round contest.

Meanwhile, local hope Michael Venus and Jamie Murray had their bid for the men's doubles cut short in a 7-6 4-6 10-4 defeat to Sander Gille and Jordan Vliegen.

Venus and British partner battled hard to keep themselves in the contest with a second-set win but fell off the pace in the super tie-break against their Belgian opponents.

Venus' exit signals the end of the NZ contingent at the tournament, with the world No. 24 now shifting his focus to the Australian Open.