Cameron Norrie was left rueing fine margins with after a first-round defeat to Grigor Dimitrov in the LTA’s cinch Championships at The Queen’s Club, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton at The Queen's Club.
Norrie, last year’s finalist, was given a tough opener against The Queen’s Club champion from 2014 who prevailed 6-7 (2) 6-1 6-4 in an entertaining match on Centre Court.
Reflecting on a hard-fought defeat, the 26-year-old revealed he was pleased with where his game was at, if disappointed with the result.
“I think it just came down to a couple of points,” Norrie reflected. “I played really well, he just played a little too good for me.
“Obviously he likes these conditions.
“I looked at the whole draw and thought everyone was in for a rough draw. It’s pretty stacked here this week.
“And Grigor likes the surface and these courts, he was preparing early.
“It was perfect preparation for me I get play against someone who really likes these conditions.
“But I honestly thought I played a great a match and was really happy with my level today.”
Both player’s serves were in full working order in the first set, which went to an almost inevitable tiebreak without a break registered.
But Norrie impressed in the first-set decider with some accurate passing shots and high-level serving.
However, Bulgarian Dimitrov is always a difficult opponent on grass and showed his quality to take the second set 6-1, sending the match to a decider.
The Brit did force break point opportunities in the third set, but it was the Bulgarian who took a mammoth, yet vital fifth game to seize the initiative.
Despite displaying a real resilience to keep the match alive, Norrie was unable to break back and exited at the first hurdle.
But he gave credit to his opponent who was firmly back at the top of his game.
“His serving was top level today,” Norrie added. “He really hit the spots today.
“The courts were pretty slick today for the first day of play. He was very sharp and did a good job managing his serve.
“I only had one game in the third set where I really had a chance, so it was impressive for him.
“Ideally it would be nice to win here today but he was in top form.”
Norrie has previous at Queen’s, having made it to the final in this tournament last year before losing out to Matteo Berrettini in three sets.
And British No.1 can still take heart from gaining some crucial court time against a top-class opponent as he continues to build towards Wimbledon in a fortnight’s time with Eastbourne next week.
“I am entered in Eastbourne and will play. Hopefully I get some more time at the court,” he added.
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