Aslan Karatsev of Russia beat second seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 7-6(5) 7-6(5) in the quarterfinals of the Zhuhai Championships on Sunday, September 24. The match lasted two hours and twenty minutes.
Karatsev will face Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in the semifinals on Monday. While Nishioka is the higher-ranked player, Karatsev is a dangerous opponent and will fancy his chances. The Russian will be eyeing his first title of the year and is only a couple of matches away from doing that.
On that note, here's a look at two things that stood out in the match:
#1 Karatsev held his own with his backhand against Norrie
Being a left-hander, Norrie’s crosscourt forehand was directed at Karatsev’s backhand. Although his backhand is not among his stronger shots, the Russian held his own with it against the Brit. Karatsev also directed a lot of traffic towards Norrie’s weaker backhand side.
The baseline slugfest continued throughout the first set, which was eventually decided by a tie-break. Karatsev took a 3-0 lead and managed to win the tie-break to draw first blood.
#2 Karatsev overpowered Norrie for the most part
Karatsev was decidedly the more powerful of the two players from the baseline. Norrie struggled to cope with his power at times, as the Russian repeatedly pushed the Brit back with his formidable forehand. Karatsev also played a few nice approaches and then ventured forward to hit winners through volleys.
However, he was not very comfortable with his backhand against Norrie’s crosscourt shots and the Brit broke him in the third game of the second set and then consolidated the break to take a 3-1 lead. However, Karatsev leveled the score at 5-5 primarily by putting pressure on Norrie’s second serve.
The second set also went into a tie-break. Although Norrie took an early lead, Karatsev held his nerve to win it and romp to victory.
There was not much between the two players in the match, but Karatsev was the slightly more assertive and powerful player. Norrie was able to win only 61% of the points on his second serve in the match, while the Russian managed a slightly better 65%. Moreover, Karatsev created four break-point opportunities compared to just one for Norrie.