Cameron Norrie stuns Rafael Nadal to secure momentous win in United Cup

Cameron Norrie sealed the biggest win of his career by defeating Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the United Cup in Sydney. Norrie had lost his four previous meetings against the 22-time grand slam champion, but produced some of his best tennis at a sold-out Ken Rosewall Arena to give Great Britain the lead over Spain at the inaugural mixed international team competition.

Katie Swan later produced a superb fightback to beat Nuria Párrizas Díaz and put Britain 2-0 up and in control of the Group D tie.

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Asked if it was his best career win at a press conference, Norrie said: “I think it was, especially on ranking and beating a guy like Rafa as the competitor that he is. I know it’s his first match of the year, but it was a sick win. He absolutely chopped me the last five or four times I played him, so it is nice to get him once now. I really played well and held my nerve throughout the match.”

Norrie, who defeated Alex de Minaur in his opening match at the new mixed-teams event as Britain beat Australia 3-2, was no match for Nadal in the opening set. The Spaniard, making his first appearance since the ATP Finals in November, delivered a series of stunning passing shots, but was unable to maintain his level.

Norrie broke the Spaniard in the sixth game of the second set and went on to dominate the decider, saving two break points while leading 3-2 before holding his nerve to clinch a statement win.

The 36-year-old world No 2 felt that, despite the defeat, it was “not a disaster at all”. Nadal said: “I can do things better of course, and I need to do it, but as I said, I had not many matches before. It’s all the credit to him that he did a lot of things very well. I think there is a way to improve, but I have time before the Australian Open starts in two weeks.”

Cameron Norrie fires back against Rafael Nadal during their match in Sydney
Cameron Norrie fires back against Rafael Nadal during their match in Sydney. Photograph: Andy Cheung/Getty Images

Swan, ranked 145 in the world, produced another fine display as she recovered in her match against Párrizas Díaz after the Spaniard had taken the first set. Encouraged by the team captain, Tim Henman, the 23-year-old rallied to defeat the world No 70, coming through 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 for her first win in the competition.

Spain will now need to mount a recovery of their own in Sunday’s fixtures to stay alive, while victory will see Britain qualify for the quarter-finals. Paula Badosa, the world No 13, will take on Harriet Dart, who beat her at the Billie Jean King Cup, while Pablo Carreño Busta faces Dan Evans.

Elsewhere in Saturday’s matches, Croatia are 2-0 up on Argentina in Group F in Perth, while it is 1-1 between Belgium and Bulgaria. In Sydney, Germany lead the Czech Republic 2-0 in Group C and Brazil hold a 2-0 advantage over Norway from their Group E match in Brisbane.


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