The 10th-seeded Briton won nine straight games from 2-2 in the first set to overcome Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-2, 6-1 in 73 minutes. “It’s been a phenomenal year and I’ve been really enjoying my tennis,” said Norrie. “I’ve been moving and playing well, and I’m enjoying being in Paris.
“It’s obviously a great milestone and it shows I have been on the Tour and have a little bit of experience now. It’s a nice bonus, but there is a lot of tennis in the year to be played. It’s a great achievement.”
Norrie is currently in 11th position in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin and started the week 140 points behind eighth-placed Jannik Sinner (3,015), in the final automatic qualification spot. Norrie is now one match win shy of 50 victories (49-21) in a career-best season.
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Having won 30 of his 36 first-service points against Delbonis, Norrie will next prepare to challenge Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic or American Reilly Opelka, the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers finalist in August.
The 26-year-old Norrie surged into contention for a spot at the season finale after he captured his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (d. Basilashvili) and he will have to do the same in Paris if he wants to complete at the 14-21 November event at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. He won his first ATP Tour title in July at the Mifel Open in Los Cabos (d. Nakashima) and has reached the final of three other events in 2021.
“I know who is in the Race,” said Norrie. “I know who I’m competing against. I’m looking at how they are doing. I think it’s very interesting to me, and I think it’s cool to have this added pressure of playing for an extra event at the end of the year.
“All of us in the contest for it right now have not made this event before. So it’s all very special for us, and it’s a great opportunity, but I’m keeping my head down in terms of focusing on what I have to do… I’m doing what I can. I know it’s a long shot for me to make the event. I’m quite far behind, so I’ve got a lot of work to do, but luckily there’s a lot of tennis left to be played. It’s cool that I’m in the conversation this late in the year.”
Alexander Bublik will take on Nitto ATP Finals hopeful Casper Ruud, the sixth-seeded Norwegian, after the Kazakhstani worked hard to beat Daniel Evans of Great Britain 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 in two hours and 14 minutes.
Later today, former World No. 1 Andy Murray, the 2016 champion in Paris, plays German lucky loser Dominik Koepfer during Monday’s night session. Koepfer replaced American Jenson Brooksby, who withdrew on Monday afternoon due to an abdominal injury.