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Basilashvili beats Fritz, sets up improbable Indian Wells final against Norrie

Nikoloz Basilashvili played his best on the big points to battle past Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells semi-finals on Saturday. The Georgian will go up against Cameron Norrie in the final.

Basilashvili, à Indian Wells en 2021 October 15, 2021 Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia acknowledges the crowd after winning his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during the 2021 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. || 209836_0052 2021 ATP BNP masters 1000 men’s open Paribas PRESS sport tennis USA WTA zagency zcsm zlast24 zselect zsports ZTENNIS Zuma ZUMAPRESS.com zwire

ATP 2021 BNP Paribas Open | Draw Order of Play

Nikoloz Basilashvili booked a spot in his first-ever Masters 1000 final when he defeated Taylor fritz 7-6(5), 6-3 in the semis of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday afternoon. Basilashvili saved all seven of the break points he faced to prevail in one hour and 41 minutes.

The 36th-ranked Georgian saved two set points on serve at 4-5 in the opening frame of play and another at 5-6. After taking that set in a tiebreaker, Basilashvili fought off two break points at 1-1 in the second and an additional two while serving for the match at 5-3. Having previously missed two match points earlier in the eighth game, Indian Wells’ No 29 seed capitalized on his third chance with a clean forehand winner.

“It means a lot, especially at Indian Wells–which people call it like a fifth Grand Slam,” Basilashvili commented. “To get through so many matches is very important. I’m at the top of my game now and feeling the best. This was my first time in a Masters 1000 semi-final so I was a little bit tight. I just tried to get rid of [the tension] as much as I could because if I just focus on my game I can play good tennis.”

Fritz faced only one break point in the entire match, but it proved to be decisive as his opponent converted it for a 4-2 lead in the second set.

Norrie next for Basilashvili in surprising final

In the first semi-final on Saturday, Cameron Norrie got the best of Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4. Norrie will also be playing in a Masters 1000 title match for the first time in his career.

The only previous meeting between Basilashvili and Norrie came earlier this season on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam, where Norrie cruised 6-0, 6-3.

“He’s very uncomfortable to play and he’s in really good shape right now,” Basilashvili said of the left-handed Brit. “He’s playing a very interesting game.”

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