'You can not slow down against Rafael Nadal,' Cameron Norrie recalls

Cameron Norrie gave his best against Rafael Nadal in Barcelona 2021

by Jovica Ilic
'You can not slow down against Rafael Nadal,' Cameron Norrie recalls

Rafael Nadal and Cameron Norrie battled in the Barcelona Open quarter-final two years ago. The Spaniard scored a 6-1, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 34 minutes for a place in the last four. Nadal could have played better in the previous matches against Ilya Ivashka and Kei Nishikori.

He raised his level against the Briton to emerge at the top in straight sets and remain on the title course. After the match, Norrie said he gave his best and did many things well before losing steam, something you can not afford against Rafa on clay.

Nadal hit 22 winners and 17 unforced errors for his 64th Barcelona triumph from 68 encounters! Rafa needed 40 minutes to seal the opening set, serving well and stealing the rival's serve twice for 6-1. The crowd's favorite stole Cameron's serve in game four to gain the advantage, backed by two commanding holds.

The Spaniard hit a service winner to open a 4-1 gap and seized the fourth break chance in the next one to move further in front. Nadal closed the opener with a hold at love in game seven before placing a perfect forehand return winner in the second set's third game for a break at love.

From 30-0 down in game four, Rafa won four straight points to avoid troubles and keep the serve intact, finishing it with an ace to remain in front.

Cameron Norrie and Rafael Nadal battled in Barcelona 2021.

Suddenly, the Spaniard played loose strokes in game eight and experienced two break points.

He repelled them with winners before Cameron converted the third to level the score at 4-4 and extend the battle. Staying calm, Rafa grabbed a break at love a few minutes later to forge the advantage and sealed the deal with a forehand winner in game ten to reach the last four.

"I played well at the beginning, especially in the first set. I think I did a lot of things well, and then I stopped a bit. That's something you can't afford against a player like Rafa, as I had to hold the level of intensity from the first set.

I could change directions with my forehand and had most of the points under control in the early stages; then the situation became a bit different, and that's why I suffered later," Cameron Norrie said.

Rafael Nadal Cameron Norrie