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French Open 2018: Cameron Norrie pays tribute to late grandmother after defeat

French Open 2018: Cameron Norrie pays tribute to late grandmother after defeat
31 May
4:55
Cameron Norrie has been playing at the French Open for the first time
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

British number three Cameron Norrie paid tribute to his late grandmother Ethel after he was knocked out of the French Open by 15th seed Lucas Pouille.

Norrie lost 6-2 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7-3) to the Frenchman when their second-round match was completed on Thursday.

But the 22-year-old revealed that his father David had missed his match to attend the funeral in Glasgow on Wednesday.

“I have fought the past two weeks so hard for her,” he told BBC Sport.

“I think she would be proud, and she played a lot of tennis herself.

“My dad had to go back on Tuesday night. It was tough and I think my dad just got back to Paris today and just missed the end of my match.”

Pouille, the French number one, led by two sets to one when bad light stopped play on Wednesday night.

In a tense fourth set, the Frenchman broke for 6-5 but he was unable to serve out for the match.

Norrie, who beat world number 10 John Isner on his way to reaching the semi-finals of the Lyon Open last week, forced a tie-break but the world number 85 was unable to take it to a decider.

He has enjoyed a sharp rise since making his debut on the ATP Tour last year, climbing into the top 100 for the first time last week.

It helped him automatically qualify for a Grand Slam for the first time in his career on his debut appearance at Roland Garros.

The New Zealand-raised left-hander had dropped the opening two sets on Wednesday and also appeared to be struggling with a stomach illness.

But he gave himself a chance by taking the third set and ensuring the match went to a second day.

“By the second or third game, I felt my stomach was sore so I was pumped to get off court last night,” he added.

“Today I felt a lot better. Yesterday I got a bit sidetracked and I couldn’t concentrate. I struggled to fall asleep a little last night.”

A taste for the big occasion – analysis

BBC Sport tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

In case we needed reminding, after his exploits in Marbella on his Davis Cup debut in February, Cameron Norrie has a taste for the big occasion.

All credit to Lucas Pouille for conjuring an ace when set point down, otherwise Norrie may well have had a final set to enjoy on his Philippe Chatrier court debut.

Instead, his second year as a professional will begin with a 70-something ranking next to his name. Norrie has already secured direct entry into Wimbledon and that ranking will ensure he does not need to worry about qualifying for the US Open, either.

As his Argentine coach Facundo Lugones told BBC Sport: “One of the few players who broke top 100 12 months after turning pro was John Isner – so it’s really tough to do what he’s doing now.”

Luck goes against Norrie in tie-break

American college educated Norrie began day two confidently and won his opening three service games before saving a couple of break points in the seventh game.

The Briton got a set point at 5-4 but Pouille saved it in style with an ace.

That looked to have turned the match the Frenchman’s way and he broke Norrie to 15 to leave him serving for the match.

But Norrie showed plenty of determination, taking the third of three break-point chances to force the tie-break.

Pouille held the advantage in the tie-break and luck was not on Norrie’s side when at 5-3 down he volleyed a winner but was judged to have touched the net.

That gave the Frenchman three set points but he only needed one to reach round three.

“It was great exposure for me, and I think I’m going to use the experience to my advantage in the future,” added Norrie.

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