The wide smile on Tommy Paul‘s face at the end of his match Monday evening said it all.
After a back-and-forth battle against fourth seed Andrey Rublev in which the American unsuccessfully served for the match once, Paul completed one of the biggest victories of his career 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.
“I’m not thinking too much. I was pretty happy to be out there, so it wasn’t like the end of the world getting broken there,” Paul told ATPTour.com. “I had match point and obviously I wanted to win the match there. But I felt comfortable throughout the match.”
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Paul’s missed opportunity came serving at 5-3 in the decider. On match point, he hit a backhand approach shot long. Rublev then broke his serve and held to level their clash. The World No. 60 remained calm though and triumphed after two hours and 24 minutes.
“I knew that I would have chances either to break back or [win] in the breaker, even if I just raised the level of my serve a little bit,” Paul said. “I would have had a lot of chances to win that breaker.”
The 24-year-old had never previously made the third round of an ATP Masters 1000 event, and now he is into the fourth round. The victory was his second against a Top 10 opponent after he defeated Alexander Zverev in Acapulco next year.
The lefty Norrie, who is the 21st seed, hit 12 aces and saved 10 of the 14 break points he faced. Paul won their only previous clash earlier this year in an ATP 250 in Melbourne.