Frances Tiafoe soared into his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final at the BNP Paribas Open Wednesday when he overcame Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4 to end the Briton’s eight-match winning run.
After a rain-disrupted start, the clouds cleared and Tiafoe started to fire. The American combined flair with power, timing the ball cleanly and moving forward effectively to earn the 13th – and biggest – win of his season after one hour and 25 minutes.
Yet to drop a set & through to 1/2 final!@FTiafoe using all of the court 📐, especially on his forehand cross-court winning play.
The 17 winning plays on the FH cross made a significant contribution to his #InAttack advantage over Norrie#WinningPlays:
✅ Highlight a… https://t.co/rPQEheFr1Z pic.twitter.com/2hJnjbRQPW
— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) March 15, 2023
Tiafoe, who is making his seventh appearance in Indian Wells, will face fifth seed Daniil Medvedev or Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a place in Sunday’s championship match.
“I am really happy. I feel like when I am there mentally, I am one of the best players in the world,” Tiafoe said. “Today it is not just about getting to the semis, I am happy to beat a guy like that, who has been playing so well. To be able to come out here and beat him in straight sets, is relatively comfortable. At the end, it got a little tricky, but it was pretty one-way traffic and I am really happy with where my game is at.”
Norrie lifted the title in Rio de Janeiro last month and entered the quarter-final clash off the back of a victory against sixth seed Andrey Rublev. However, he was unable to replicate that level against Tiafoe, frequently dropping the ball short to allow the 14th seed to dictate.
“I am able to take the racquet out of players hands,” Tiafoe said. “I am crafty, I can move. I stay in the points and don’t give away too many free points. I have grown as a player tremendously and it is showing. I am really happy with my progress.”
With his win, Tiafoe has levelled his ATP Head2Head series against Norrie at 1-1. Tiafoe has yet to drop a set this fortnight in California, having downed Marcos Giron, Jason Kubler and Alejandro Tabilo. The 25-year-old, currently No. 14 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, reached the semi-finals at the US Open last year and will aim to use the experience he gained in New York this week as he chases his second tour-level title.
Norrie was seeking his second crown in Indian Wells, having captured the biggest trophy of his career at the hard-court event in 2021. The 10th-seed is 21-4 on the season.