Even an unusual flurry of racquet-throwing anger failed to overturn a performance that saw Cam Norrie ejected from the US Open on Monday night.
The British number one enjoyed a brief recovery after that but it wasn’t enough to save him from a 6-4 6-4 6-4 loss to ninth seed Andrey Rublev and failing to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Either way it was a flat and listless performance from the British number one, a surprisingly poor end to a summer that has seen him make almost uninterrupted progress.
Britain’s No. 1 Cam Norrie misses US Open after losing in straight sets to Andrey Rublev
Rublev produced an impressive performance and prevailed in straight sets – 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Norrie received a code violation for showing frustration shortly after being beaten 3-2 in the third set.
“I felt that maybe the only time I had a chance was when I finally threw my racquet, and had a little more energy and moved a lot better for the next twenty minutes. “, did he declare.
“That was probably the best part of the game for me, I felt like I could let go a bit. Obviously it’s not ideal to break racquets and do that. I do that very rarely, but I I was able to kind of snap and shift my energy and really lift myself up afterwards.
“It was a good learning curve for me. Maybe I felt a little too relaxed and I had too little energy, I don’t know why. In the other games I was very nervous and tight, but I felt like I used that and I was a bit more electric and snappy and I was able to run for the balls.
“Today I felt I was too cold between the points.”
Norrie is now moving into team tennis, leading Britain’s efforts to advance to the Davis Cup final, with the qualifying group taking place in Glasgow next week.
It was a frustrating experience for Norrie, but it was still his best run at the US Open.
The Laver Cup match between Europe and the world follows in London. Despite finishing in the top ten, Norrie was overlooked for selection to the six-man squad.
However, it looks like he could still be recalled late amid reported doubts over the fitness of some players, particularly Roger Federer, who is trying to return from knee surgery at 41.
“I’m in touch with them, and obviously it’s going to take a few guys to step down for me to have a chance,” said Norrie, who indicated he would be happy to step in.
His aim is to qualify for the year-end ATP Finals in Turin, but last night’s match showed he can still be vulnerable against elite heavy hitters like the Russian.
What started as a fortnight of promises for the British singles contingent ended in rather deflating fashion. The men’s doubles still offers the possibility of a slight consolation.
It was, without a doubt, a great opportunity for Norrie to further authenticate his status by achieving his assigned quarter-final seed position.
There was the incitement of a potential meeting with Rafael Nadal, who faced American Frances Tiafoe last night in his bid to qualify for the last eight.
After this victory, Rublev will face Rafa Nadal or Frances Tiafoe in the next round
Rublev is one of the most talented strikers on the tour, but in the previous round he was forced to go all the way to the fifth set tie-break.
If the British number one could hold out this match long enough to test their respective engines, against an opponent prone to getting angry, it would surely give him an advantage.
A dose of hard work on American Labor Day was in order.
Initially it looked likely to happen as they went 4-4 down in the opener before Norrie’s usually metronomic backhand suddenly buckled against the powerful groundstrokes that landed on him.
The backhand is the southpaw’s banker’s shot, confusing opponents by skidding low across the court, but too often ended up in the net.
By the time a brief shower interrupted play, he had broken down within a second. At first it was announced that the roof was closing, then the decision was delayed for two games, at which time the pitch was covered in water.
It’s the kind of thing that happens in a tournament that is the least organized of the Grand Slams, even though it often produces the best tennis.
The break offered a chance for Norrie to regroup, but there was to be no change in momentum as he continued his way to an overall total of 35 unforced errors.
Norrie struggled to cope against Rublev’s aggressive serves
It was after hitting a forehand into the net only to be broken at 2-2 in the third Norrie got so angry he smashed his racquet in the concrete.
He briefly produced his best spell of the game finding the consistent penetration to back up immediately then hold.
At 4-4, a double fault helped him down 0-40, and from there he was helpless.
Britain’s number 1 Cam Norrie is knocked out of the US Open in the round of 16 by Andrey Rublev