Cameron Norrie has continued his breakout season, advancing to his sixth and biggest final of 2021 after beating Grigor Dimitrov at Indian Wells.
No.21 seed Norrie brushed Dimitrov aside 6-2 6-4 and will face Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final, after the Georgian stopped Taylor Fritz in straight sets in Saturday’s second semifinal.
Britain’s Norrie and Basilashvili, the 29th seed, have met once before, with Norrie winning that clash for the loss of just three games in the first round of Rotterdam seven months ago.
With a semifinal line-up featuring no top-25 players for the first time at an ATP Masters event, Norrie and Basilashvili emerged triumphant to set up one of the more unexpected top-level ATP finals in recent memory.
“I'm really happy with how this week's gone for me obviously,” said Norrie, whose win over Dimitrov was his 50th victory this season.
“I feel like I'm improving. I'm looking forward to the match tomorrow (against Basilashvili) and really looking forward to going out and enjoying it again.
“The last two days have been the biggest matches of my career, so I'm going to go out there and it's going to be my biggest match of my career again tomorrow ... and hopefully do more of the same.
“I'm looking forward to the occasion. Feeling all the nerves and all the pressure, it's definitely great to experience that. Looking forward to feeling that and the whole experience of the whole thing.”
Thanks to reaching the first ATP Masters final of his career, Norrie is projected to make his top-20 debut when next week’s rankings are released.
This is also the biggest final of Basilashvili’s career, yet unlike Norrie, who is 1-4 in finals this year, Basilashvili has won his past five finals, dating back to 2018.
The world No.36 saved three set points in the first set against Californian local Fritz, before breaking serve in the sixth game of the second en route to a 5-2 lead.
He required four match points before eventually cementing a 7-6(5) 6-3 triumph in one hour and 41 minutes.
“Emotions are really positive. I'm really happy,” he said.
“I think I played pretty good tennis. Taylor made me play a lot of balls. I had to actually play very good tennis from the baseline to beat him.
“But in general I'm happy that I was very relaxed in important moments and I could execute my shots.”
The final between Norrie and Basilashvili will follow the Indian Wells women’s final on Sunday pitting Victoria Azarenka against Paula Badosa.