MARBELLA, Spain – Cameron Norrie pulled off a big upset in his Davis Cup debut on Friday, defeating Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut to draw Great Britain level at 1-1 in that World Group first-round tie.
In just his sixth-ever match on a clay court, the 114th-ranked Norrie rallied for a 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over the 23rd-ranked Bautista-Agut, who was struggling with a muscle strain in his left leg.
The upset complicates matters for the Spaniards, who have not lost at home in this international competition since 1999, a streak of 24 consecutive ties.
“In the fifth set I went to serve and there was an eruption of noise and I thought this is an incredible experience,” the 22-year-old Norrie said. “I’m so happy. Best day of my tennis career, 100 percent.”
Playing in front of 5,000 fans at the Puente Romano Tennis Club in the southern Spanish city of Marbella, Cameron jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the first set.
Bautista, however, responded by going on a run of seven straight games to claim the first set in 44 minutes and grab a 3-0 lead in the second set. The Spaniard then proceeded to take a seemingly insurmountable two-set lead a few games later.
Norrie, however, stormed back in the third set, striking 16 winners and pressuring Bautista with constant net approaches to stay alive in the match.
Norrie’s strong play came as physical struggles began plaguing the Spaniard, who called for the trainer on two occasions.
The momentum remained on the Briton player’s side in the fourth set, while Bautista’s performance was marred by dozens of unforced errors over the final two sets.
In the fifth set, Bautista conceded his serve twice – in the third and seventh games – before Norrie sealed his unlikely victory.
Earlier Friday, 21st-ranked Albert Ramos-Viñolas gave Spain a 1-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) victory over 165th-ranked Liam Broady.
The tie continues on Saturday with a doubles rubber pitting the Spanish duo of Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreño-Busta against the British team of Jamie Murray (a former world No. 1 in doubles) and Dominic Inglot.
No matter what happens in the doubles, the tie will be decided in Sunday’s reverse singles.