Sunday, May 2, 2021

Spaniard nips NorCal nonpareil Norrie in Estoril final

Albert Ramos-Vinolas serves during the 2016
U.S. Open. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Seventh-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain edged unseeded Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) today in a battle of left-handers to win the Millennium Estoril Open, an ATP 250 tournament on red clay in Estoril, Portugal.
   Ramos-Vinolas, 33, trailed by a break in the second set against the 25-year-old Norrie, who won back-to-back Northern California Challengers in Tiburon and Stockton in 2017 before prevailing in 2 hours, 44 minutes for his third ATP singles title.
   Ramos-Vinolas improved to 16-5 on clay this year and 3-0 against Norrie. Ramos-Vinolas owns seven more clay-court victories than any other player on the ATP Tour this season, according to atptour.com.
   Norrie — who was born in South Africa, grew up in New Zealand, played at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and has represented Great Britain since 2013 — fell to 0-2 in ATP singles finals. He lost to American Tennys Sandgren, whom he had beaten in the Tiburon final, 6-4, 6-2 in the 2019 Auckland title match.
   Norrie, who won the Estoril doubles crown in 2018 with countryman Kyle Edmund, defeated second seed Cristin Garin of Chile in the quarterfinals and sixth seed Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, of Croatia in the semifinals.
   "I had some good wins," Norrie, who has been called a lefty Andy Murray, said on atptour.com. "It is obviously disappointing to come unstuck today, but I am playing well on the clay and moving better and better. ... It was a great week, and I can take a lot of positives, but (there) is a lot of stuff to work on as well."
   Ramos-Vinolas, who reached a career-high No. 17 in the world in 2017, will jump nine places to No. 37 on Monday. Norrie will rise two notches to No. 48, seven spots off his career high in 2019.
   WTA Tour — Ons Jabeur of Tunisia defeated Sloane Stephens, a 28-year-old Fresno, Calif., product, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Saturday in a second-round clash of unseeded players in the Mutua Madrid Open on red clay.

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