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Cameron Norrie advances in Barcelona Open with walkover win

Cameron Norrie advances in Barcelona Open with walkover win
© Reuters
British number one Cameron Norrie is through to the third round of the Barcelona Open thanks to a walkover win over France's Hugo Mayot.

British number one Cameron Norrie progressed to the third round of the Barcelona Open with a walkover victory over France's Hugo Mayot in their second-round battle.

A gripping contest had just entered a third set, as Mayot recovered from losing a first-set tie-breaker to level the match at 6-7[3] 7-6[6] thanks to wasted opportunities from Norrie.

However, just two points into the decider, the world number 116 was forced to call it a night, sending Norrie through to a third-round showdown with either Roberto Bautista Agut or Andrea Vavassori.

On the back of a disappointing first-round exit to Karen Khachanov at the Monte Carlo Masters, Norrie squandered a whopping four match points in his opening Barcelona affair with Mayot, who sits 85 places below him in the ATP Tour rankings.

Only two of the Briton's nine break points were converted, but he earned a get out of jail free card thanks to Mayot's affliction, which appeared to be hindering him throughout their match.

Norrie missed one chance to break the Mayot serve in the opening game of the match, and the former Wimbledon semi-finalist let another three chances to strike first pass him by in the seventh as well.

Norrie was barely troubled on serve in the early stages - losing a mere three points in his first six service games - and the world number 31 belatedly found a killer instinct in the tie-breaker, winning five points on the spin to take the opener.

Mayot came out for the second set all guns blazing with a quick break in the opening game, but Norrie responded straight away, and lightning struck twice for the duo in the fifth and sixth games.

At 5-4 up in the 10th game, Norrie saw his first match point slip from his grasp before an almighty tie-breaker collapse, where Mayot astonishingly saved three match points and fought back from 3-6 down to prevail 8-6 and somehow prolong the contest.

However, after falling 30-0 down on serve at the start of the third set, the 22-year-old's problem proved too difficult to play through, ensuring that Norrie would not be made to pay for his collapse.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Rafael Nadal's first clay-court match since the 2022 French Open final ended in a two-set success over Flavio Cobolli, while Andrey Rublev's losing streak stretched to four matches against the USA's Brandon Nakashima.

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