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Down but not out, Norrie Comes Back to Beat Basilashvili for Indian Wells BNP Tennis Masters Title

Cameron Norrie of Great Britain celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili of Gerogia during the men’s final at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 17 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO



By Ricky Dimon

Both Cameron Norrie and Nikoloz Basilashvili were playing for the biggest title of their careers on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open. Basilashvili saw the finish line first, but could not close the deal with the trophy in his grasp. Then it was Norrie who had a chance, and he seized the moment.

Norrie came back from a set and a break down to beat Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the Indian Wells Masters final. The left-handed Brit triumphed after one hour and 49 minutes for his second title of the season (also Los Cabos) and second ever.

“It means so much to me,” Norrie assured during his on-court interview. “It’s my biggest title. I’m so happy; I can’t even describe it right now. It’s absolutely massive for me and my team. I can’t really believe it. If you’d have told me I’d have won the tournament before the tournament started, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s amazing.”

For a while it was Basilashvili who had the upper hand. The 36th-ranked Georgian built a 5-3 lead in the opening set thanks to a pair of breaks and then served it out at love. He seemed to seize complete control of the match by also breaking for a 2-1 advantage in the second.

epa09529520 Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia hits a return to Cameron Norrie of Great Britain during the men’s final at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 17 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO



With the finish line possibly in his sight and his mind, Basilashvili suddenly became unable to pair consistency with power as he had earlier in the final and throughout the fortnight. A flurry of unforced errors led to donations of serve at 2-1 and 4-5.

Firmly back in the match, Norrie did not look back in the third. The No. 21 seed raced to a 3-0 lead and added a second break for 5-1 to put himself on the cusp of victory. A routine holde in the sixth game of the decider saw Norrie capitalize on his second championship point at 40-15 when Basilashvili sent a forehand just past the baseline.

“I’ve been really enjoying my tennis and been enjoying being out on court and competing in the big moments,” the 26-year-old said. “I’m just really pleased with how I handled the occasion. I think I’m doing a lot better with that this year.”

Cameron Norrie of Great Britain celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili of Gerogia (R) during the men’s final at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 17 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO



In addition to the title itself, importance for Norrie includes a surge to No. 9 in the race to the Nitto ATP Finals (not including Rafael Nadal, who is out for the year). The left-hander trails Hubert Hurkacz by 115 points for the final spot.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.