“It’s nice to get some revenge. He beat me easily last time, so it’s good to see I’ve improved a little bit,” said Norrie, who scavenged just three games against Rublev in their only prior meeting in St. Petersburg last year.
Norrie will aim to lift his second tour-level title Sunday, with his first coming in Acapulco earlier this year. Norrie, who now holds a 41-19 record in 2021, had lost five of his past six matches prior to this week.
The 26-year-old began the week 15th in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, and will keep alive his outside chance of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals should be push on to claim the title Sunday against the winner of second seed Casper Ruud and former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov.
After losing the opening set in 35 minutes it was Norrie who was the more solid, neutralising Rublev’s power and forcing errors, which led to frustration on the Russian’s side of the net.
“All credit to Andrey, he came out firing,” said Norrie in his on-court interview. “He played some big tennis at the beginning and I managed to weather the storm at the start of the second.
“It’s such a big win for me. It’s definitely a match that I’m going to remember for a long time.”
It was the Brit’s second win over a Top 5 opponent, following his victory over then-World No. 4 Dominic Thiem earlier this year in Lyon.
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Norrie was again impressive behind his serve, winning 73 per cent of first-serve points and firing eight aces. The World No. 26 also saved eight of the nine break points he faced to reach his fifth tour-level final of the year.
“I’m just trying to enjoy today and then I’ll try to rest up and get ready for [the final against Ruud or Dimitrov],” Norrie said. “I’ve been watching both of them this week and they’ve been playing some of their top level. I’m looking forward to that one tomorrow.”