The weather caused Cameron Norrie as many problems as his opponent, Pablo Andújar, on Court Two on Monday. But after two delays for rain the only British seed in the men’s singles was also the first Briton into the second round, with a straight-sets victory that was only in any real doubt when the second extended into a tie-break.
Norrie has reached the third round at a grand slam tournament five times in his career, including Wimbledon last year and Roland Garros last month but has yet to progress to the last 16. As the ninth seed and world No 12, however, an overdue debut in the second week should be the least of his ambitions and he opened his match on Monday in dominant form, reeling off six games in a row in 25 minutes.
His fast start owed something to his opponent’s fragility, as Andújar’s service games teetered constantly on the edge of surrender, but Norrie did not offer up any chances for a counterpunch and swept through one service game with four first-serve winners.
Andújar, a first-round departure in six of his eight previous visits to SW19, showed some signs of a revival at the start of the second set, grabbing his first break of the match shortly before the first rain delay. He lost a close-fought service game when the players returned, however, before finally finding some consistency on serve to edge, game by game, towards a tie‑break.
The Spaniard was starting to find the lines with his groundstrokes too, and some fine shot-making by Norrie in response, including a miraculous backhand crosscourt volley in the 12th game, was enough only to earn him the tie-break.
Just when he needed it most, however, Andújar’s serve deserted him once again and Norrie, having won the tie‑break to three, won nine successive points near the start of the third set to get within touching distance of victory – just as the darkest cloud of the day started to poke its nose over the grandstand.
Norrie did his best to get out in front of it but Three match points on the Andújar serve went begging before the inevitable dash for cover. But Norrie needed just five minutes, three deuces and some more lacklustre serves from his opponent to wrap things up after the restart, though, sealing a 6-0, 7-6, 6-3 victory with a rifled forehand pass down the line.
“It was a tricky one, obviously, with the delays and having to stop and restart,” Norrie said. “Especially at the end, having a couple of match points and then coming out and having to play again, when it could be five minutes or it could be three hours. There’s obviously still things I can improve but it was pretty solid.
“I wasn’t too aware of it [the approaching rain] until someone in the crowd shouted, ‘Come on, Cam, get it done before the rain,’ and I looked over and I saw the huge grey cloud. I think after that I had one more match point and it would have been nice to get it done earlier but it is what it is.
“It’s tough waiting another hour and you’re on edge, you know you had a chance to finish the match and you could be in the showers and eating, but you try to block that out and I came out a lot better the second time than the first time, when I missed a few returns.”
Despite his resistance in the second set, Andújar ultimately had no answer to the British No 1’s strength and athleticism. Interruptions aside, this was as straightforward a task as Norrie could have hoped for. He will now face another Spaniard, Jaume Munar, in the second round, when he will hope to avenge a hard-fought defeat in their only previous meeting, on clay in Brazil in 2019.
“I’ve played doubles with Jaume before and he volleys really well and has really good hands,” Norrie said. “I saw him serve-volleying quite a lot and I lost to him last time so I can see him being dangerous on the grass.”
Jodie Burrage, the British No 5, made a swift exit from the Championships, beaten 6-2, 6-3 in 70 minutes by Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko. Yuriko Miyazaki, ranked seven, followed a few hours later, but only after putting up much stiffer resistance to Caroline Garcia. Miyazaki claimed the first set and took the decider to 6-6, only to lose the 10-point tie-break to four.
Heather Watson walked off court at 10.40pm having levelled her match with Tamara Korpatsch at one set all, saving two break points in the 12th game before some thumping forehands secured the second set, 7-5.
Jay Clarke, meanwhile, also saw his match with Christian Harrison suspended, with the Briton two sets down and the scores level at 5-5 in the third.