(October 16, 2021) INDIAN WELLS, California – In the most unlikely of scenarios before the Indian Wells tournament began, it will be 21st seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain versus 29th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of the country of Georgia for the men’s title on Sunday.
Basilashvili beat American 311st seed Taylor Fritz 7-6 (5), 6-3 while Norrie defeated 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday afternoon. This is the first time in the tournament’s history that none of the men’s semifinalist were ranked in the Top 25.
Norrie needed only 86 minutes for his win to earn him a spot in his first ATP Masters 1000 Series final.
“I’m really happy with how this week’s gone for me obviously,” said the top ranked man representing Great Britain. “I feel like I’m improving. I think, yeah, I’m looking forward to the match tomorrow and really looking forward to going out and enjoying it again.
“Yeah, I’ve had some opportunities there to make the second week of a slam, but it’s not gone my way. It’s all been great learning for me. Hopefully with these results I can put myself in a higher seeding there, then maybe have some more chances.
“But I’ve faced some pretty decent players this year in the third round. Rafa in Australia, Rafa at the French, then Roger at Wimbledon. I feel some tough guys out there. I’m really enjoying my tennis. Yeah, those experiences have been great for me, those big matches.”
On playing Basilashvili on Sunday:
“Yeah, he’s an incredibly tough player, especially when he’s this confident. He hits the ball big off both sides. He moves well. He’s a great athlete. Like I said, when he’s confident, he can beat anyone. He’s super dangerous.
“It’s going to be difficult, but I’m feeling good physically and looking forward to getting out there. He’s looking good. He’s serving well. He’s being very proactive with his forehand. He’s looking dangerous.
“But I’m looking forward to the match.”
Norrie is looking to become the first British player to win Indian Wells.
“Emotions are really positive,” said the Georgian. “I’m really happy. I think I played pretty good tennis. In my opinion, 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. I was very happy for the serve, as well.”
On playing Norrie in the final:
“Really interesting player. He’s playing very good at this tournament. He had previous really good weeks. I will learn him today, come up with a plan for tomorrow.
“But overall he’s very not so nice to play with him from the baseline. He’s been playing really, really smart and very good tennis. I’m looking forward. If I can play my game and be relaxed, I think I can play well.”
Basilashvili is the first man from Georgia to reach a Masters Series final, of that he is extremely proud.
“It means a lot, obviously. I have been having good results previously, as well. Winning ATP titles, this never happened. I’m super happy I can achieve something like this, especially a country like Georgia, a very small country. Tennis is not that popular. I made my way. I passed really tough roads to get to here, so it means a lot.”