Cameron Norrie maintained his strong record at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon Thursday, edging Argentine Sebastian Baez 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 to reach the semi-finals at the ATP 250 event for the third time.
The Briton, who advanced to the final in the South of France last season, demonstrated his impressive fitness levels by hanging in rallies and forcing the 21-year-old into errors with his depth in their first ATP Head2Head meeting. Norrie recovered from squandering a 5-3 lead in the third set and three match points to eventually advance after two hours and 40 minutes.
“All credit to Sebi, he played a really good match. The rallies were so tough and it was really tough to finish it off at the end but I managed to do it. Thank you to everyone for staying, I really appreciate that, ”Norrie said in his on-court interview.
“It is one of those matches where you have some nerves, so to get over the line you take a lot of confidence from that and I showed my emotion at the end,” Norrie added. “It means a lot to get through a match like that. I really enjoyed the battle. “
The top seed is now two victories away from capturing his second title of the season, after triumphing in Delray Beach. Norrie also enjoyed a run to the last four in Lyon on debut in 2018, but he has never lifted a trophy at a clay-court ATP Tour event.
The 26-year-old will continue to try and change that record when he takes on #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune in the last four.
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The 19-year-old struggled with cramp at the end of the match, but edged French qualifier Manuel Guinard 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach his second tour-level semi-final of the season in two hours and 11 minutes.
Rune, who is currently third in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan, clinched his maiden ATP Tour title in Munich last month and is now 10-5 on clay at tour-level events this season.
Earlier Guinard moved past American lucky loser Michael Mmoh 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in three hours and 19 minutes to reach his first tour-level quarter-final after the match resumed on Thursday at 5-5 in the third set . However, the 26-year-old was unable to make it two wins from two later on day five.
Alex Molcan continued his perfect week, dispatching Argentine Federico Coria 6-3, 6-2 to reach his second tour-level semi-final of the season.
The Slovakian has yet to drop a set in the south of France and he overpowered Coria with his brutal ball-striking to advance after 90 minutes. With his run di lui, he has climbed to No. 41 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
Molcan, who defeated former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and fifth seed Karen Khachanov in his opening two matches, enjoyed a run to the final on clay in Marrakech in April. The 24-year-old earned just seven tour-level wins in 2021, but has already recorded 13 victories in 2022.
The lefty will next face Alex de Minaur after Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki was forced to retire from their match due to a back problem at the start of the second set.
The Australian was leading 6-4 after 39 minutes when Watanuki retired due to injury. It is the second time de Minaur has advanced to the last four this year, having reached the semi-finals in Barcelona in April.
“It is a tough one. It was very tough, a lot of wind. Tough conditions,” de Minaur said. “I was happy I kept my cool and did what I needed to do and [I am] wishing a very speedy recovery to Yosuke, who I know very well from juniors.
“It will be another tough one [against Molcan]. He has been having his best year of lui and I am ready for a battle tomorrow. “