Indian Wells 2021: Cameron Norrie is the new British No. 1

A breakdown of the finals of the mens' and womens' singles at the Indian Wells Open

Patrick Fox
28th October 2021
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Following the end of the Indian Wells Masters, many tennis fans have been surprised with the outcomes of the women’s and men’s singles. With the Big 3 (Federer, Nadal and Djokovic) of the men’s singles not attending and nearly half of the women’s singles top ten players not competing - including Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka - newer faces were expected to win the title.

With this competition being the fifth biggest annual tournament of the season, it's surprising that the 21st seeds of both the women’s and men’s draws won the tournament in three sets of highlights and drama.

Cameron Norrie, the winner of the men’s singles title, was the first British man to do so and has now passed Dan Evans to become the country's No. 1. This win pushes the British player only 110 points away from competing in the top 8 2021 ATP finals, which he could earn in the Vienna Open.    

Norrie had a considerably slow start to the competition, being forced into three-setters for the rounds of 64, 32 and 16. However, he tore through the quarter and the semi-finals, beating longstanding dominant players Diego Schwartzman and Grigor Dimitrov with ease.

The Brit came to face Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final, who like Norrie, is a strong opponent who has also emerged on the scene of top tier tennis over the last few years. In the first set, Norrie was up 3-1 with a strong start, but Basilashvili then won five games straight in a row - breaking Norrie twice - and took the first set 6-3.

It seemed like the end for Norrie when he lost a break in the second set, nevertheless, he broke back and managed to win the second set even with the incredible striking of Basilashvili. The Georgian seemed unable to keep his composure after that and lost the last set 6-1 to Norrie and after nearly two hours Norrie had won his first Masters 1000 title and second title overall.

Women’s singles title winner Paula Badosa of Spain cruised through the tournament with dominance, only dropping two sets with one in the first round and one in the final. She knocked out 3rd and 10th seeds Barbora Krejčíková and Angelique Kerber in straight sets, arriving at the final in fantastic form to play veteran Victoria Azarenka.

In the final, Badosa recovered to defeat Victoria Azarenka 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(2) in a three-hour-long to win her first-ever WTA 1000 title. Azarenka served for the match and led 5-4, 30-0 in the third set, but she lost her serve with four errors. Badosa courageously closed out the final set tiebreak with four winners to seal a win that has pushed her into the top eight of the WTA race ahead of the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.

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