Cameron Norrie hailed the “biggest win” of his career after beating Diego Schwartzman to reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
Norrie, who is set to become the new British No 1 after the tournament, eased past the world No 15 in just 73 minutes.
The win continues a hugely impressive season for Norrie and should secure him enough ranking points to break into the world's top 20 for the first time in his career.
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“It was such a big moment for me playing my first Masters 1,000 quarter-final, especially against Diego,” said Norrie.
"I thought I was in for an absolute battle. It's probably the biggest win of my career. I'm really happy with the way I handled everything.”
Norrie raced through the first set and never let up as he completed an impressive 6-0 6-2 win against a below-par Schwartzman.
"With Diego you have to be careful. He snuck through a couple of matches already this tournament. I had to keep my foot down and was able to get that second break and relax and play some great tennis," added Norrie.
Norrie’s run to the last four has put him in contention to make the season-ending ATP Finals. He is currently in 12th place in the standings, 765 points behind Hubert Hurkacz, who currently holds the last qualifying spot. But if Norrie wins the title he will only be 125 points behind Hurkacz.
Asked about overtaking Dan Evans to become British No 1, Norrie said: “It was never really a goal of mine, but it’s definitely a great bonus to be British No 1.
“I want to keep pushing. I think I’ve got a lot of things to improve on, but I think it’s one of those things you’ve got to enjoy.
“Yeah, it’s nice to show some of the hard work from Facu [coach Facundo Lugones] and I that have been putting in over the last kind of five years after college. It’s showing, and it’s been a lot of fun.
“I’m just really pleased to be playing my best level at these bigger events. I’m just enjoying the process and enjoying playing the bigger matches. There is always going to be a bigger match and a bigger opportunity. I was just happy with how I handled myself in terms of the situation.”
Norrie will next face Grigor Dimitrov after he followed up his shock win over top seed Daniil Medvedev with victory over Hurkacz.
“I am definitely not surprised to see Cameron Norrie in the semi-finals,” said Dimitrov.
“He has been playing great, very good matches. He is a very dangerous opponent and very crafty. It is not going to be an easy match my end. I am trying to get back to a good rhythm of tennis and living and being pain free with my body. Waking up and feeling my body is there gives me confidence. I am really enjoying my everyday life.”
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