Norrie faces Rafa test Barty pulls out from doubles amid injury woes - GulfToday

Norrie faces Rafa test Barty pulls out from doubles amid injury woes

Ash Barty

Ash Barty reacts during her Australian Open match against Daria Gavrilova in Melbourne on Thursday. Associated Press

Melbourne: Britain’s Cameron Norrie will be exploring every avenue in preparation for his Australian Open third-round clash against World No. 2 Rafael Nadal – and countryman Andy Murray might be getting a phone call as a result.

The 25-year-old recovered from a set down to overcome Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(3) in three hours and 31 minutes on Thursday. Norrie moved into the third round at a Grand Slam for the second time, after last year’s US Open, according to ATP.

As Norrie gears up for his first clash against the 2009 champion Nadal, he will be hoping that Murray has a few tips to share with him from some of the former World No. 1’s seven ATP Head2Head victories from 24 matches against the Spaniard.

“I mean, that would definitely be a good thing to do…I’m going to leave (the game plan) up to my coach, but maybe message Andy and see what his thoughts are,” Norrie said. “We play obviously pretty different, me being lefty, but he’s definitely got some good tips in there.”

Former champion Nadal is chasing history in Melbourne as he seeks his 21st Grand Slam trophy, and his second Australian Open crown. By comparison, his opponent Norrie – who is facing a member of the Big 3 for the first time – comes into the encounter with ‘nothing to lose’. It’s a combination that has spelled danger for other champions in the past.

“That’s a philosophy, nothing to lose. But at the same time, he has a match to lose or to win, the same like me,” Nadal said.

“We are in the third round of a Grand Slam. I cannot expect an easy opponent in front [of me]. Norrie will not be an easy opponent…

Fitness concerns: World number one Ash Barty withdrew from the Australian Open doubles on Friday, raising concerns over her fitness for the singles as she manages a thigh strain.

Barty played with her left thigh heavily strapped in her second round win over fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova but downplayed the injury on Thursday, saying she was “fit as a fiddle.”

She and Jennifer Brady were scheduled to play in the second round of the women’s doubles on Friday but withdrew from the match, handing Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka a walkover. Top seed Barty, who made the semi-finals last year, is bidding to end Australia’s 43-year wait for a home winner at the Grand Slam.


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