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Cameron Norrie to meet Novak Djokovic in Italian Open last 16

Cameron Norrie to meet Novak Djokovic in Italian Open last 16
© Reuters
British number one Cameron Norrie staves off a late fightback from Hungary's Marton Fucsovics to set up an Italian Open last-16 clash with Novak Djokovic.

British number one Cameron Norrie staved off a late fightback from Hungary's Marton Fucsovics to reach the last 16 of the Italian Open on Sunday.

The Wimbledon semi-finalist prevailed 6-2 7-6[4] in just over two hours to set up a tantalising tie with Novak Djokovic for a place in the quarter-finals.

Fresh from a dominant win over French qualifier Alexandre Muller in his opening battle, Norrie showed few ill-effects early doors as he wrapped up the first set with minimal difficulty.

The British number one squandered a trio of break points in the fourth game of the match before converting his next for a 3-1 lead, as Fucsovics was made to pay for three unforced errors in quick succession.

A nervy Fucsovics survived two double faults in his next service game, and while Norrie only landed 50% of his first serves, the British number one kept his opponent at bay with relative ease.

Fucsovics established a 40-0 lead on serve in the eighth game of the match, but the world number 92 fatally allowed Norrie back into the contest, and the Briton capitalised with a second break to put one foot in the last eight.

Novak Djokovic reacts at the Italian Open on May 14, 2023© Reuters

The writing was seemingly on the wall for Fucsovics as Norrie earned the double break for a 5-1 lead in the second set, but the latter was broken while serving for the match as Fucsovics threatened an astonishing turnaround.

Norrie wasted three successive match points on Fucsovics's serve in the eighth game, and the Hungarian remarkably broke again to cut the deficit to 5-4 before saving another match point to level the second set.

Norrie composed himself to hold in the 11th game before Fucsovics forced a tie-breaker, where the latter raced into a 3-1 lead, but he eventually ran out of steam as Norrie came roaring back.

The British number one won five points on the bounce and finally got over the line to book a last-16 date with Djokovic, who overcame Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 4-6 6-1 in their third-round encounter.

Casper Ruud and Holger Rune also sealed their spots in the last 16 on Sunday, but American ninth seed Taylor Fritz was dumped out 6-4 6-1 by German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the second round.

Women's top seed Iga Swiatek also progressed comfortably with a 6-2 6-0 win over Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko, but Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari were eliminated by Czech duo Marie Bouzkova and Marketa Vondrousova respectively.

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Cameron Norrie pictured at the Italian Open on May 12, 2023
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