US Open: Cameron Norrie beats Benoit Paire to reach New York second round

US Open: Cameron Norrie beats Benoit Paire to reach New York second round


Cameron Norrie hits a return against Benoit Paire in the 2022 US Open match
Cameron Norrie moved to a career high ranking of ninth in the world on Monday
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 29 August-11 September
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries across BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

British men’s number one Cameron Norrie made light work of unpredictable Frenchman Benoit Paire as he started his US Open bid in style.

Seventh seed Norrie, 27, won the first set in 18 minutes before Paire improved to make a contest of the second.

But Norrie ran away with the third when Paire’s level dropped again to win 6-0 7-6 (7-1) 6-0 in sticky conditions.

Norrie plays Joao Sousa or Mackenzie McDonald next as he aims to better his run to the Wimbledon semi-finals.

British number two Dan Evans, seeded 20th, starts against Czech Jiri Vesely on Tuesday, before Emma Raducanu – the nation’s leading women’s player – starts the defence of her title against France’s Alize Cornet in the night session in New York.

Norrie keeps focused amid Paire’s antics

Left-hander Norrie had never reached the second week at a major before a superb display at the All England Club which catapulted him into national stardom.

Moving into the top eight seedings at the season’s final Grand Slam tournament – a result of reaching a career-high ranking of ninth and taking advantage of withdrawals by Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev – opens up the draw for Norrie.

The Briton cannot play a higher-ranked opponent until the quarter-finals, if he gets there, but faced a potentially tricky match against former world number 18 Paire.

You never know what you’re going to get with Paire, although the catalogue of errors and general insouciance seen in the first and third sets has been a common sight in recent times.

At Wimbledon the 33-year-old spoke about his “disgust for tennis”, then opened up to French website Brut about his mental health struggles.

In sticky conditions at Flushing Meadows, he made a woeful start as Norrie maintained his focus in a composed and professional opening set.

Norrie hit the ball cleanly and made just one unforced error, landing 10 winners and five aces, as 173rd-ranked Paire provided little resistance.

Many sweltering spectators left the court as they seemingly were not prepared to watch a no-contest in those conditions, only for the Frenchman to suddenly click into gear at the start of the second set.

Finally he had found some belief and forced Norrie to save a break point to hold at 3-3.

There was a concerning moment in the next game when a fan in the stands needed treatment, forcing a long pause where Paire was warned by umpire Carlos Bernardes for chatting to his coach.

Off-court coaching has been allowed in certain circumstances at this year’s US Open, although the rules appear hard to enforce and liable to be pushed.

But players are not supposed to speak to a coach during a break in play, which Andy Murray said did not make sense to him, and so Bernardes was correct to speak to Paire.

After play resumed the Frenchman broke for a 5-3 lead but could not serve out the set and then appeared to be tanking the third set as Norrie cruised to victory.

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