Cameron Norrie defeats Jenson Brooksby to set up dream ASB Classic final

Cameron Norrie is into the ASB Classic final for the second time in his career, following his convincing 6-3 6-4 win over America’s Jenson Brooksby on Friday and will play Richard Gasquet for the title.

Norrie’s win means he’s the only men’s player in the world to already have six wins on the tour this year and he’s yet to lose a match.

“I was serving well, hitting my spots well and winning a lot of the longer rallies,” Norrie said of this win.

“Jenson is really tricky, he puts the ball in such awkward parts of the court.

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“But I was able to use my legs, win some of the longer rallies and it looked like his energy dropped off towards the end.”

He will play against Richard Gasquet in the final as his opponent for the other semifinal, Constant Lestienne pulled out with a pectoral injury, which he picked up in his marathon quarterfinal win over Laslo Djere on Thursday night.

Cameron Norrie's all round game was too good for the young American, Jenson Brooksby.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Cameron Norrie’s all round game was too good for the young American, Jenson Brooksby.

Norrie against Gasquet is the dream final organizers were wishing for after the quarterfinal results, but it hasn’t come about in the manner they hoped for and the sold out crowd were given an exhibition match between Kiwis KP Pannu and Ajeet Rai to watch instead.

Brooksby had looked outstanding up until the semifinal in his wins over Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman and Quentin Halys, but he wasn’t at the level of Norrie.

At the age of 22, Brooksby certainly has a bright future and should become a top 20 player, but he’s not at that level yet and couldn’t compete with the tenacity, devastating backhand and consistency of Norrie.

“Jenson’s just a young, up-and-coming player. He’s played a few big matches, but I’ve played a few more than him.

Jenson Brooksby struggled to compete with Cameron Norrie in their ASB Classic semifinal

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Jenson Brooksby struggled to compete with Cameron Norrie in their ASB Classic semifinal

“I feel like with my game I’m just a little bit better at everything than him. So I wanted to back my legs today and I was able to serve a bit better and hold my service games easier than he did and that showed.”

Brooksby saved four break points in the fourth game of the match, which lasted 14 minutes, and another in the sixth game, before Norrie got the break he deserved.

The American was able to get a break early in the second set, but was broken straight back to love and Norrie continued that charge for the rest of the match.

So it’s between Norrie and Gasquet for the title at 2pm on Saturday.

Surprisingly this will be the first time they’ve played each other and even though the 36-year-old Frenchman has had a great week, he’ll go in as underdog against the world No 12.

“An absolute veteran of the Tour, a really solid player and I’m going to have to run a lot to beat him,” Norrie said of Gasquet.

“He plays really physical tennis and has got a complete game, so I’m going to have to watch some of Rafa’s matches against him. I know he’s got a good record against Gasquet.”

For the record, Nadal’s record against Gasquet is 18 wins and no losses.

When Norrie played in the final of the Classic in 2019, he lost 6-4 6-2.

Norrie didn’t turn up that day against the journeyman player. But he knows he’s a better and more experienced player now than he was then.

“I think it will be pretty different, because it was my first final and I was like ‘wow, I really want to win that.'” Norrie said.

“I felt like it was a good match up for me to play Sandgren and thought this was going to be my chance to do it.

“But I was pretty inexperienced and Sandgren played better than me on the day.

“I’ve played a lot of finals now, not too many, but enough to feel like I can handle the situation.

“So is Richard, he’s a very experienced player, won a lot of titles and it’s going to be a good battle.”

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